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Biomedicine book

New book entitled ‘Law at the Frontiers of Biomedicine’ by Professor Shaun Pattinson from our Law School presents an innovative legal theory and applies it to future developments in biomedicine.

This legal theory reconceptualises the role of legal officials in terms of moral principle and contextual constraints: ‘contextual legal idealism’.

It is applied by asking how a political leader or appeal court judge could address technological developments in biomedicine for which the current law of England and Wales would be ill-equipped to respond.

More about the book

The book’s central thesis is that the regulation of human conduct requires moral reasoning directed to the context in which it operates.

The link between abstract theory and practical application is articulated using future developments within four areas of biomedicine:

  • editing the DNA of embryos for enhanced traits (heritable genome editing)
  • gestating a fetus in an artificial womb (ectogestation)
  • self-modified brain implants providing new skills (cybernetic biohacking)
  • bringing a frozen human back to life (cryonic reanimation).

Developments in heritable genome editing and cybernetic biohacking are addressed using Explanatory Notes to hypothetical Parliamentary Bills.

Developments in ectogestation and cryonic reanimation are addressed using hypothetical appeal court judgments.

Who is the book for?

Professor Pattinson recommends the book to a wide range of audiences including scholars and students of medical/health law, criminal law, bioethics, biolaw, legal theory and moral philosophy.

This book is the output from a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship.

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