Medical Ethics

In this chapter I take up some questions of medical ethics. Is it ethical to refuse vaccination for one’s children? Is it ethical to withhold information from those who are ill, assuming it is for their own good? There are also those wrenching end-of-life decisions we must sometimes make for loved ones, in an age when medical technology prolongs life that is not always worth living. These rely heavily on the theory of autonomy we have developed. The chapter concludes by examining how limited healthcare resources should be allocated.


We have seen a movement among some parents to refuse vaccination for their children, due in part to concern over the safety of vaccines.* The controversy has been particularly ...

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