Monthly Archives: August 2015

Review of “Medical Ethics: A Very Short Introduction” by Tony Hope

Medical Ethics: A Very Short Introduction by Tony Hope is a very interesting read that covers a wide range of medical topics. It is also very accessible as it provides the legal and medical vocabulary needed to understand the content in each chapter. One of the best things about this book is that Hope discusses controversial questions (e.g. Should euthanasia be legalised?) using 5 tools in his tool-box for reasoning: logic, conceptual analysis, consistency and case comparison, and reasoning from principles. He also goes through how these tools should be used when making decisions and how to spot errors in reasoning. A range of case studies, most of which are based on real life events, are included in the book to help present his arguments for making decisions in medical cases and to give the reader a taste of the world of moral dilemmas in the medical profession. 

Another good thing about this book is that it makes you think again about what yous the thought was the right way of making moral and ethical decisions in certain circumstances and also challenges several moral principles that were well-established. As well as this, some logical fallacies were also identified in this book and the problems caused because of these logical fallacies are also discussed in this book. One point mentioned in the book is that it’s unacceptable to force a mentally-competent person into treatments for an illness but it’s acceptable to force those with mental illnesses into treatments they do not want, regardless of how competent they are, which he then says would be discriminating against people against mental illnesses as different standards are being set for those with mental illnesses compared to those without.

Overall, this book gives a very short introduction about medical ethics, which does mean that unfortunately it does not cover all ethical situations in medicine. However, I would still highly recommend this book as it does help the reader improve their ability to think critically and develop ethical reasoning as well as providing a good introduction to medical ethics.