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The literature of medical ethics: A review of the writings of Hans Jonas

By F B K Cooper


Hans Jonas, who was trained in Germany in the 1920s as a philosopher, had written studies of gnosticism while still living in Germany and some of his work in that field was published after he had left the country. After the Second World War Jonas settled in the United States of America where he is now the Alvin Johnson Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York City. For some years Hans Jonas has directed his research to philosophical studies of medical ethics, in particular to the problems created by recent advances in medical technology. His first book on this theme, `The Phenomenon of Life: Towards a Philosophical Biology', provides the philosophical background to his latest studies and was published in 1966. The essays included in that volume date from 1950 onwards. His second, `Philosophical Essays: From Ancient Creed to Technological Man', continues his analysis and argument from 1964 to the present day but is more particularly concerned with the practical problems of medical ethics encountered by clinicians and research workers, for example, experiments on comatose patients. Dr Cooper in this review outlines in some detail the theses of these volumes

Topics: The Parliamentary Scene
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