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Edited by Mark J Hanson and Daniel Callahan, Washington, DC, Georgetown University Press, 1999, 239 + xiv pages, $55 hb.
The dominant theme in health care and its ethics as we move into into the new century looks likely to be how to allocate scarce health care goods fairly. Many ingenious proposals have been devised for determining how to choose between funding service A and service B, how to fix on appropriate levels for funding individual services, and how to decide who will receive a service and to what extent. Yet it would not be controversial to assert that none of these proposals has met with wide acceptance and trust. One of this remarkable book's premises is that the reason for this general failure is that rationing proposals duck the question: “What is medicine for?” To pursue this question seriously is to sail into waters less familiar to Anglo-American readers than those of medical ethics, namely, those of philosophy of medicine. The idea is that by …