J Med Ethics 28:332 doi:10.1136/jme.28.5.332-a
  • Book review

Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 5th edn.

Beauchamp T L, Childress J F. Oxford University Press, 2001, £19.95, pp 454. ISBN 0-19-514332-9

  1. S Holm
  1. soren.holm{at}

    The Principles of Biomedical Ethics by Beauchamp and Childress is a classic in the field of medical ethics. The first edition was published in 1979 and “unleashed” the four principles of respect for autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice on the newly emerging field. These principles were argued to be mid-level principles mediating between high-level moral theory and low-level common morality, and they immediately became very popular in writings about medical ethics. Over the years Beauchamp and Childress have developed this approach and vigorously defended it against the various criticisms that have been raised.

    The 5th edition of this book is, as all the …

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