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Beyond Method: Philosophical Conversations in Healthcare Research and Scholarship


Though a target authence is not specifically identified, the editor writes, 'Gathering the voices of scholars from across disciplines and around the world into converging conversations, this volume provides substantive paths to thinking in which researchers, students, and clinicians in healthcare and the human sciences can continue to inquire into complex human phenomena while keeping possibilities in play.' (xviii) The emphasis of the Western philosophical school of thought in the essays is quite dramatic.

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									     EthicS & MEdicinE

     Bioterror and Biowarfare
     Malcolm Dando. Oxford England: Oneworld Publications, 200.
     I S B N 9 7 8 -18 516 8 4 47 2 ; 2 5 6 PAG E S , PA P E R , $15 . 9 5

     In Malcolm Dando’s text, one is quickly struck with the historical perspective on the use of biological
     weapons before they became a major concern for most readers – about the time of 9/11 and the
     subsequent anthrax scares. It is enlightening, in a sadistic way, that these ‘weapons’ have been available
     for use by armies across the globe for many years. Though most biological warfare, according to the
     author, began with World War I, many of these agents were identified as far back as 187. The author
     provides a comprehensive list of such pathogens, including one of the first microorganisms – anthrax
     – discovered by Koch in 187.

     Malcolm then explores the subsequent and more intense usage of these organisms from World War
     II through 200. He then looks into the world of biotechnology which, with a more effective mode of
     distribution, may make these virulent organisms an even greater threat to mankind now than in the past.
     The impact of the biotechnology revolution is not a simple issue since many (if not most) third world
     countries who tinker with these microbes are unfamiliar with the potential for self-destruction and the
     scope of destruction possible with their use.

     On several occasions, the author refers to guidelines which have been in place for many years outlining
     the appropriate use of these organisms. These have been generally ignored by the world at large, perhaps
     primarily due to the inability to enforce the guidelines upon individual countries or groups of terrorists
     most likely to use these weapons.

     Malcolm concludes his text with thoughts on possible uses of these agents in attack scenarios of today.
     He also proposes wise, but more unenforceable, guidelines that all countries and ‘handlers’ of these
     agents should follow.

     A concern for this reviewer is the paucity of information concerning the ethics of the supply and
     distribution of these agents. Many of the mentioned microorganisms, currently without useful purpose
     outside of bioterror, can be (at least partially) controlled through vaccines and other healthy practices.
     The ethical issues which need to be addressed surround the delivery and distribution of organisms from
     countries that have ready and safe access and control over their use to others that desire to use them
     reputably but may not have adequate control measures. Withholding these organisms and the possible
     biotechnological issues which might result should be further developed in the text rather than adding to
     a compilation of useful, but nearly unenforceable guideline
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