Martha C. Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago.
Department of Philosophy
This collection of essays is most welcome addition to the burgeoning treatments of poverty and inequality. What is most novel about this volume is its sustained and informed attention to the explicitly ethical aspects of poverty and poverty alleviation. What are the ethical merits and demerits of income poverty, multidimensional-capability poverty, and poverty as nonrecognition? How important is poverty alleviation in comparison to environmental protection and cultural preservation? Who or what should be agents responsible for reducing poverty? The editors concede that their volume is not the last word on these matters. But, these essays, eschewing value neutrality and a retreat into technical mastery, challenge us to find fresh and reasonable answers to these urgent questions.
David A. Crocker
School of Public Policy
University of Maryland
Although a liberal political framework protects individual judgments, May asserts that this right is based on the assumption of an individual's competency to make sound decisions. May uses case studies to examine society's approach to medical decision making when, for reasons ranging from age to severe mental disorder, a person lacks sufficient competency to make independent and fully informed choices. To protect the autonomy of these vulnerable patients, May emphasizes the need for health care ethics committees and ethics consultants to help guide the decision-making process in clinical settings. Bioethics in a Liberal Society is essential reading for all those interested in understanding how bioethics is practiced within our society.-- Mark P. Aulisio, Case Western Reserve University, Center for Biomedical Ethics