Cooperation, Complicity, and Conscience

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre
Paper $22.95
320 pages

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Cooperation, Complicity, and Conscience

Problems in healthcare, science, law, and public policy

Watt, Helen

Cooperation in evil or wrongdoing is one of the most perplexing areas in bioethics, both for those working in the field and those seeking their advice.  The papers collected in this book are written by philosophers, theologians and lawyers who have studied these problems and/or by those who have faced these problems in their own work in law, healthcare and research, and political campaigning. The volume includes both general treatments of the subject of cooperation and conscientious objection, and more specific treatments of topics such as voting to improve unjust laws, research on fetal/embryonic cells, and care of suicidal patients.  The book is offered as a guide to a field which is both of academic interest and of personal concern to those who face cooperation problems in their own lives and work.

Contributors include: Bishop Donal Murray, Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, Jane Adolphe, Mike Delany,  John Finnis, Luke Gormally, Colin Harte, Cathleen Kaveny, Richard Myers, Charlie O’Donnell, Alexander Pruss, Neil Scolding and Helen Watt.

The quality of the essays is very high, although they also remain very readable...  this book fills a vital niche in addressing thorny issues of a Catholic's involvement in modern medical practice whose mainstream vision, especially in the obstetrics and gynaecology areas, is often at odds with Catholic teaching.  Recommended for priests, not just in chaplaincy settings, medical students and students in medical ethics courses, and general readers interested in bioethics.  - Dr John M. Grondelski Homiletic & Pastoral Review, December 2006

If someone is doing something harmful, when is it right to help him or her to do it?  The obvious answer is 'never'.  Accomplices to crime are rightly punished because they are complicit in wrongdoing.  Yet if we could never cooperate with any wrongdoing then we could never pay tax (because of what some of it is spent on), never pay the television licence fee (because of some of what is broadcast), never drive a bus (because of what some people will be on their way to do), and never work for the post office (because of all the threats, intimidation, blackmail, pornography, and fraudulent offers of easy money etc. delivered by post).

The question of whether, when, how, and to what extent to cooperate in wrongdoing is thus both difficult and important.  This book is a major contribution to a neglected subject......[T]he best general treatment I have come across on the key ethical issue of cooperation. - David Jones The Pastoral Review, July 2006