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Life's Dominion: An Argument About Abortion, Euthanasia, and Individual Freedom Paperback – June 28, 1994


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dworkin's landmark essay on abortion, euthanasia, American legal history and the Constitution.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Today's debate over the proper place of abortion in an ethically committed society has proven every bit as divisive as was slavery in 19th-century America. Dworkin, an eminent lawyer and legal philosopher, believes that a new way of examining the central issue is now required. He argues that the key question to be resolved is how far society can go to impose a single official view upon personally held convictions of the inherent value of all life. Dworkin's analysis requires that the abstract moral principles set out in the U.S. Constitution be interpreted to insure equal concern for the dignity of all human life, and he analyzes other issues, such as euthanasia, in the same framework. Continuing the examination of moral issues raised earlier in Dworkin's A Matter of Principle (Harvard Univ. Pr., 1985), his new book can be favorably compared with other recent works about abortion such as Lawrence Tribe's Abortion : A Clash of Absolutes ( LJ 2/1/91) or Roger Rosenblatt's Life Itself ( LJ 3/15/92). While a difficult book, it is also an important one that should be read by as many concerned readers as possible. Highly recommended.
- Jerry E. Stephens, U.S. Court of Appeals Lib., Oklahoma City
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (June 28, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679733191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679733195
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Schwartz on June 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
Amazingly, Dworkin offers a new take on the abortion dispute--and I think a correct one. I don't agree with everything he says, but this book sheds more light on these issues than any other that I have read. I would say that it is the best philosophical book I have read in a long while. Among the many things that I appreciate about this book is that Dworkin along the way also has interesting and insightful things to say about the philosophy of mind, the meaning of life, and the nature of human dignity. If you are at all interested in bio-ethics, the philosophy of the abortion dispute, euthanasia, or the meaning of life--read this book. I plan to re-read it soon.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jenna Hoffman (jhoffman@gwu.edu) on October 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'm reading this book as part of and Ethics and Health Care course and find Dworkin's argument to be a concise moral overview of the current debate on abortion and euthanasia. He does equal justice to views from the Catholic Church to the Women's movement on aspects of abortion and gives those with a less extensive legal background an easily understandable assessment of important precedents and pending legislation. I found his coverage on other other systems outside of the US to be lacking, but realize this is not the primary focus of his work. For a better analysis of the current acceptability and status of PAS and euthanasia in the Netherlands look for articles by Van der Maas and Angell in JAMA or the NEJM. Overall, Dworkin does justice to a highly controversial issue with adequate research and moral reasoning. An excellant beginner to understanding abortion and euthanasia.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John Hopkins on May 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the most amazing and critical inquiries into a socially relevant topic of the 20th century. The arguments are almost flawless, beautifully interwoven with examples, anecdotes and personally relevant stories spanning the whole spectrum of human emotion.

This book will not bore you. It will be quite interesting from a humanistic, legal and historical point of view. However, Ronald Dworkin is indeed a liberal philosopher who believes that liberal social policy (in regards to abortion and euthanasia) can coexist with one's belief that life is ever precious.

Naturally, conflicting and strict moral belief systems divide conservatives and liberals in regards to such hot-button issues. If you are truly willing to read this book with an open mind, you will not be disappointed and perhaps will become a better and more informed advocate. On the other hand, if you read this book while conceptualizing some circular reasoning debasing Dworkin's every word - in favor of a verse from the bible - this book is certainly not for you!
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By Cassiel on February 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book tackles really important questions about the sanctity of life, the questions that I feel are purposely glossed over when it comes to abortion and euthanasia debates because the answers, though true, are morbid and against many ideals that society has created regarding life. This book is definitely a keeper.
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