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Bioethics (All That Matters) [Paperback]

Donna Dickenson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 Jun 2012 All That Matters

In this book:

Donna Dickenson - Winner of the International Spinoza Lens Award

Should we do what ever science lets us do?Bioethics: All That Matters, new developments in biotechnology like genetics, stem cell research and artificial reproduction arouse both our greatest hopes and our greatest fears. Many people invest the new biotechnology with all the aspirations and faith once accorded to religious salvation. But does everyone benefit equally from scientific progress? Commercialised modern biomedicine runs the risk of exploiting vulnerable groups, from Indian 'surrogate' mothers to professional guinea pigs in drug research.

Professor Dickenson argues that although we've entered new scientific territory, there's no need to jettison our existing moral sense. By discussing a range of real-life cases, she equips readers to make up their own minds on these important and controversial questions. Good science and good ethics needn't be contradictory.

This accessible and concise book will appeal to both students and general readers, giving a fascinating introduction to a wide range of perspectives on Bioethics.

"an ideal introductory guide to topics such as stem cell technology, reproductive tourism, patent law and cognitive enhancement."

John Illman, Healthwatch

The All That Matters series:

All That Matters books:

All books in the All That Matters series are written by world experts in their subject field. These experts work to distil a topic and get right to its heart, making the book accessible for both students and general readers. Each compelling book contains new and interesting perspectives and tells stories that matter.

The Author:

Donna Dickenson is Professor of Medical Ethics and Humanities at the University of London. Prior to that she has researched and taught at the Universities of Yale and Oxford. Donna won the International Spinoza Lens Award for

her campaigning work in the field of bioethics. She also co-wrote the widely used Cambridge Medical Ethics Workbook.

Keep up with Donna Dickenson on her website:

Other books in the All That Matters series:

All That Matters - Interesting introductions to important issues

Books on the following subjects are available from the All That Matters series: Muhammad, God, Water, Political Philosophy, Sustainability, Philosophy, Intelligence, Love, Russian Revolution, War, and Creativity.To find out more visit:

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (29 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444155806
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444155808
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 12.7 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 174,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


A thoughtful, intelligent, highly readable work written by someone with impeccable credentials (Financial Times on Body Shopping)

This book provides an accessible and readable introduction. This is a timely and provocative read that will challenge the reader to produce his (or more likely her) own counterarguments. (Soren Holm, Times Higher Education)

'She is good on many of the issues.' (Guardian Book Blog)

A highly accessible guide to the ethical implications of biotechnology for the well-designed and edited All That Matters series... Dickenson defuses jargon and makes history compelling. (Biopolitical Times)

Dickenson manages to combine a wealth of fact and opinion alike into one bite-sized digest. The text also poses some interesting questions that transcend medical, legal and philosophical boundaries. This is a thought-provoking book that stimulates much further consideration after reading. (BioNews)

Book Description

Stem cell research, animal-human hybrids, gene patenting - this book will help the reader make sense of these thorny issues from the cutting edge of biotech science, whose importance will only grow in years to come.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely bunged with information 8 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As an introductory short read this book absolutely excels, it is absolutely bunged with information and interesting information at that, the pace is consistently interesting and engaging without any dull chapters, neither is there any jargon or "pitch shifting" in terms of the style of writing either. I believe this book will be read by the interested general reader and student or research alike.

The book has no index but it does have comprehensive endnotes for each chapter, a contents which is pretty clear and chapters which closely reflect the chapter headings. The chapters are structured into blocks of text, with boxes which provide more specific topical information, there are illustrations, ie cartoons and pictures, the first page of each chapter has a quotation or citation to spur on the interest of the reader. The book has a 100 ideas section at the end of the book, typical of the series, which includes 20 suggestions for further reading, 10 landmark court decisions, 10 literary works, 10 films, 10 best websites, 10 think tanks and activist organisations, 10 key concepts (I liked this list in particular: Justice; Property rights in the body; exploitation and vulnerability; genetic patentability; biological determinism; the genetic mystique/genetic exceptionalism; killing and letting die; autonomy; the genetic commons; the moral and legal status of the embryo or fetus), 10 key thinkers and 10 people and groups who shaped their field for better or worse.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I'd hoped 2 Nov 2012
By Darren Simons TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is from the All That Matters series of books, where an expert in the field tries to provide a crash course in their chosen field of expertise targeted at readers interested in knowing more about the particular topic. The author Donna Dickenson is clearly an expert in this field, serving as Emeritus Professor of Medical Ethics and Humanties at the University of London and being the winner of the International Spinoza Lens prize in 2006, a bi-annual prize in ethics.

For me, I found the book a little disappointing. Beyond the argument that some scientists may argue that science needs to go as far as it wants without consideration of ethics, and that others would disagree I found the book lacking detail. The main topics in the book cover human bio-engineering (surrogate mothering and the legal selling of eggs), genes and their ownership. I didn't feel I learnt much from the book (I would not consider myself an expert in this field at all) and for that I must admit I was disappointed. I have read other books in this series and found them more rewarding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Because we can, does that mean we should? 29 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is effectively the question posed by this book attempting to present in a nutshell the ethics of modern bio-engineering. Covering a relatively small area of human bio-engineering - surrogate motherhood & egg donation, stem cell and gene research (genetically modified crops for example are ignored entirely) - frankly I felt very much none the wiser coming out of the other end.

The final chapter, "God, Mammon and biotechnology", should really be getting to the nub of the matter, as megacorp profit is what lies behind it all. However apart from an admittedly interesting digression discussing the irrelevancy of the "science vs religion debate" which many, especially on the science side, try to reduce the whole argument to and rubbish opponents as Luddites, the "Mammon" aspect doesn't really get a look in.

The "100 ideas" section at the end of the book supposedly intended to point the reader to further investigation feels very much like filler content on the whole to make up the numbers - ten of this, ten of that and so on.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 20 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am biomedical researcher, and as it happens sit on my University Research ethics committee, so I am more aware of ethical issues surrounding medical and biological research than your average person. This book does cover it quite well, but there is nothing really new in it. I would however admit it could be useful reading for PhD students etc., as I do find fellow researchers who have not ended up being involved with ethical decisions do not always have a good understanding of this area and often see the Research Ethics committee as a nuisance. This book is easy to read and is also suitable for non-biological researchers who simply have an interest in the topic.
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Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I used this book as an introduction to a the subject of Ethics within genetic engineering for an essay I had to complete for my degree course. It was a great starting point on the subject and contains vast amounts of further reference material you can refer to if you wish to gain a deeper understanding of the subject. The reference/bibliography appendices are as rich in information as the main content. It is only meant to be a short introduction and this may be why it skipped along quite quickly in the beginning, often bombarding you with jargon. The real 'meat' of the book is focused on embriotic genetic engineering heavily related to surrogacy and IVF etc together with the legal perspective of these and the moral implications. Bioethics covers so much more but I would say that the author clearly has a specialist knowledge in work with human embryos and hence the major subject matter of the book. It would have been nice to have some more content relating to genetic engineering with plants that have an impact on mankind but this was only touched upon very briefly.

All in all, if you need an overview of human genome manipulation, synthetic human biology and issues related to this but specifically with relation to fertility or genetic 'fixing' of embryos and all the current 'bodyshopping' (as the author puts it) issues, this book has about everything you need to give you a really good overview and enough to feed your opinion on the same.

Well written, easy to read and plenty of material to back up her views and statements. I, for one, found it very useful.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Shoehorned into the series.
Such a complex thought provoking topic put through the All That Matters format is a recipe for disaster if you are looking for something in depth. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jack Chakotay
2.0 out of 5 stars Just because we can, should we? An introduction
Not being an expert in the field of bio-ethics I expected to learn something new from this book, given the author is, among other things, an Emeritus Professor in the field. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Dinah85
2.0 out of 5 stars Loaded arguments and poor presentation
Donna Dickenson clearly has very strong views about Bio Ethics, which is right and proper, but she pushes those views in what I have found to be an academically questionable way. Read more
Published 13 months ago by James Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars A complex topic made readable.
Huge strides in bio-technology in recent years have brought the subject of bioethics very much to the fore. Read more
Published 16 months ago by A. I. McCulloch
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and that seems to be the point
What a deceptive little book this is; it really is something of a tardis. The author does an excellent job of making the subject of ethics highly readable when by most accounts it... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mr. A. C. Thorne
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book in this series of titles. Recommended.
DD is Professor of Medical Ethics and Humanities at Birkbeck College and her book is one of the excellent All That Matters series. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe
5.0 out of 5 stars No place for the passive reader
I've read a number of the 'All That Matters' series, and enjoyed all of them. This particular volume, however, had a different flavour from the others as , instead of presenting a... Read more
Published 19 months ago by T. Russell
2.0 out of 5 stars Informative, but let down by being overly partisan
Biotechnology and bioethics is a massive and important subject for our time. Sadly Donna Dickenson has not done the topic justice in this short book. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Max
4.0 out of 5 stars Concise and Thought-Provoking
This is shaping up to be a fine series of short but thought provoking books.

Donna Dickenson tackles the vast and complex topic of Bioethics in a passionate but not... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Zipster Zeus
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