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Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics, Second Edition


Author: Dan Callahan

Publisher: Academic Press


Publish Date: January 3, 2012

ISBN-10: 123736323

Pages: 3464

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

Since the publication of the first edition of the Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics, the world has changed. The postmillennium and post-9/11 context has brought with it a change of emphasis at the very least. Ethical issues concerning the response to terrorism, including measures such as biometric identification technologies, have moved to center stage. It is not only in the sociopolitical context, however, that we see this. At the turn of the century the effort to map and sequence the human genome was completed, leading to considerable debate about the results, interpretation of the information, and potential applications – in medicine and nutrition, for example. The promise of stem cell science has provoked a great deal of discussion, together with both hype and anxiety. Ethical issues also increasingly have a global dimension, These developments demonstrate the ongoing need for ethical discussion, even if the range of topics has expanded.

The second edition contains, therefore, most of the first-edition topics, plus articles on issues that were not on the horizon, or only just barely, in 1998. However, ethical reflection on issues with a longer history has not ceased. So in this edition we have in some cases included revised and updated versions of entries that were in the earlier one, along with newly commissioned articles. There remain some from the first edition that are reprinted, normally because they were regarded as ‘classic’ entries.

In addition to the areas in which particular issues arise, it is still essential, as it was in 1998, for those engaged in applied ethics to reflect on what, if anything, is being ‘applied.’ The Encyclopedia therefore includes a number of articles on ethical and philosophical approaches, both historical and contemporary, religious and secular. It is not necessarily the case, however, that in applied ethics what is involved is the application of a theory. Some would argue that a central task of applied ethics, and one that is prior to the application of any theory, is the very identification of the moral dimensions of a situation. The Encyclopedia contains entries on applied ethics itself and on challenges to it. Ethical theory itself is not static; it evolves and develops, and advances in science, for example, can lead us to recognize that positions once held are no longer plausible: the very concepts we use can change (as, for example, the concept of ‘parent’ has evolved in response to developments in reproductive technology).

Several disciplines may be involved in applied ethics: one branch of applied ethics, for example, bioethics, is commonly explicated in terms of ethical, legal, social, and philosophical issues. In this Encyclopedia by no means are all of the articles written by philosophers: some are written by practitioners in the particular fields in question; others by academics from disciplines such as law and economics.

In this second edition we have taken a different approach to the editorial board. Section editors have been engaged for each of the main areas covered: subareas of applied ethics. These include applied ethics (Hub Zwart), bioethics (Glenn McGee), environmental ethics (Martin Reynolds), information and computer ethics (Alan Gillies), legal ethics (Tom Faunce), and medical ethics (Søren Holm). Sadly, our original section editor for business ethics, Bernard Hodgson, passed away during the compilation phase, and we were very fortunate that Deborah Poff agreed to replace him.

As Editor-in-Chief, I should like to thank the team at Elsevier, including Scott Bentley, who first approached me with the idea for a second edition and worked closely with me on the first; all the section editors; Kirstin Knight, who worked with me as a research assistant, and of course all the contributors.

Ruth Chadwick
Cardiff University

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