Praying for a Cure: When Medical and Religious Practices Conflict (Point/Counterpoint: Philosophers Debate Contemporary Issues)

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When the children of Christian Scientists die from a treatable illness, are their parents guilty of murder for withholding that treatment? How should the rights of children, the authority of the medical community, and religious freedom be balanced? Is it possible for those adhering to a medical model of health and disease and for those adhering to the Christian Science model to enter into a meaningful dialogue, or are the two models incommensurable? DesAutels, Battin, and May engage in a lucid and candid debate of the issues of who is ultimately responsible for deciding these questions and how to accommodate (and, in some cases, constrain) Christian Science views and practices within a pluralistic society.

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About the Author:

Peggy DesAutels is assistant professor of philosophy and associate director of the Ethics Center at the University of South Florida. Margaret P. Battin is professor of philosophy and adjunct professor of internal medicine at the University of Utah and the author of numerous books, including Ethics in the Sanctuary: Examining the Practicesof Organized Religion (Yale) and The Least Worst Death: Essays in Bioethics on the End of Life (Rowman & Littlefield). Larry May is professor of philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis and has authored numerous books, including The Socially Responsive Self (Chicago). He is also the co-editor of Rethinking Masculinity (Rowman & Littlefield).

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The right to turn one's chosen source is now well established in both law and ethics, but where children are unable to choose for themselves the situation is fraught with moral difficulties. This book highlights some of these difficulties and gives an insight into the doctrines and beliefs of Christian Scientists. There are no easy answers, although the insights offered by this book help to inform the debate. (Bulletin of Medical Ethics)

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