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Latin American Perspectives.
SALLES, Arleen L. F. and María Julia BERTOMEU (Eds.)
Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2002, IX, 199 pp.
Pb: 978-90-420-1517-3 / 90-420-1517-9
€ 38 / US$ 53

Value Inquiry Book Series
Philosophy in Latin America

This book presents a unique view of the current state of development of bioethics in Latin America. Twelve Latin American thinkers who share a primary interest in bioethics address a vast range of questions, including autonomy, rights, justice, and the role of culture and religion in bioethics. These studies contribute to an understanding of Latin American thought, and they make possible a transcultural dialogue on bioethical issues.

Arleen L.F. SALLES: Editorial Foreword
ONE Arleen L.F. SALLES: Autonomy and Culture: The Case of Latin America
TWO: Margarita M. VALDES: Abortion and Contraception in Mexico: The Attitudes and the Arguments of the Catholic Church
THREE Maria Victoria COSTA and Susana E. SOMMER: Women’s Reproductive Rights and Public Policy in Argentina
FOUR Martin Diego FARRELL: Hastening Death
FIVE Paulette DIETERLEN: Some Philosophical Considerations on Mexico’s Education, Health, and Food Program
SIX Maria Julia BERTOMEU and Graciela VIDIELLA: Moral Person and the Right to Health Care
SEVEN Florencia LUNA: Research in Developing Countries: The Ethical Issues
EIGHT Jose Roberto GOLDIM: Bioethics and Research in Brazil
NINE Eduardo RIVERA LOPEZ: What Is (Exactly) Wrong with Selling Your Body Parts?
TEN Maria Graciela de ORTUZAR: Interdisciplinary Ethics Committees for Determining Criteria of Organ Distribution
Notes on Contributors


María Julia Bertomeu is professor of ethics at Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina, and researcher of the National Research Council (CONICET). Among her areas of investigation are theoretical ethics and bioethics. She is co-editor of Universalismo and Multiculturalismo (2000). Her most recent articles are “I. Kant en algunas teorías recientes de justicia social” (Veritas) and “Comisiones y Comités de Bioética. Una mirada retrospectiva” (Perspectivas Bioéticas de las Américas.)

María Victoria Costa is a Ph.D. candidate at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina, where she teaches ethics and bioethics. She is Fellow of the National Research Council (CONICET), and has received awards from the Fulbright Commission and the British Council. She has published articles on ethics applied to education, and bioethics.

Paulette Dieterlen (Ph.D.) is professor of philosophy at Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM) and Research Fellow at Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas. Her primary research interests are distributive justice and poverty. She has published numerous articles, and is the author of Sobre los derechos humanos (1984), Ensayos sobre justicia distributiva (1995); Marxismo analítico. Explicaciones funcionales e intenciones (1995); and is the editor of De la justicia global a la local (1996).

Martín Diego Farrell is a legal theorist, a judge, and a professor of philosophy of law at the Law School of Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires and at the Universidad de Palermo. In addition to his many articles on ethics and political philosophy, he has authored several books, including La ética del aborto y la eutanasia (1992), and La filosofía del liberalismo (1992).

José Roberto Goldim is a biologist with a Ph.D. in bioethics. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on informed consent in research in Brazil. He teaches bioethics at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul and Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and is a bioethics consultant in the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre. He has authored numerous books and articles in journals.

Florencia Luna (Ph.D.) is adjunct researcher of the National Research Council (CONICET) and Board Member of the International Association of Bioethics. She is also temporary advisor of the World Health Organization and the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences. She is currently co-directing with Ruth Macklin a research-training grant of the National Institutes of Health (United States). She is the editor of the journal Perspectivas bioéticas, and co-editor of the books Decisiones de vida y muerte and Bioética.

María Graciela de Ortúzar (MA) is a philosophy teacher and a Ph.D. candidate at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP), Argentina. Her dissertation is on the ethical implications of the Human Genome Project. She is also Fellow of the National Research Council (CONICET). Since 1995, she has been doing research on bioethics, participating in Ethics Committees, working as transplant coordinator, and teaching Bioethics at the Law and Medical Schools of UNLP.

Eduardo Rivera López (Ph.D. in Political Sciences, University of Mainz, Germany) is currently professor at the Law School of Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Argentina. He is author of the forthcoming Etica y transplantes de órganos (2001), and has published several articles on liberalism, distributive justice, and bioethics in journals in Argentina, México, Germany, Finland, Spain, and Italy.

Arleen L.F. Salles (Ph.D.) teaches philosophy at Montclair State University, United States, and is a docent in the Master Program in Applied Ethics at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her research and teaching focus on ethical theory, moral psychology, and bioethical theory. Recent publications center on emotions in ethical theory, ethical issues in cloning, and particularism and emotions in bioethics. She is co-editor of Decisiones de vida y muerte (1995), and Bioética (1998).

Susana E. Sommer is a biologist. She teaches courses on the ethics of assisted reproduction and genetics at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is Board member of the Feminist Approaches to Bioethics Network. She is also author of De la cigüeña a la probeta; Genética, clonación y bioética and editor of Reproducción: las nuevas tecnologías: Un enfoque multidisciplinario. Her articles have appeared in national and international journals and in edited books.

Margarita M. Valdés studied philosophy at Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM), Smith College, and La Sorbonne (Paris). Her most important publications are on topics concerned with philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and ethics. She is editor of Controversias sobre el aborto to be published by UNAM and Fondo de Cultura Económica in 2001.

Graciela Vidiella (Ph.D) is profesor of ethics and philosophy in the departments of philosophy of the University of Buenos Aires and the Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina. She is also docent in the Master Program in Applied Ethics at the University of Buenos Aires. She is author of El derecho a la Salud (2000), co-editor of Universalismo and Multiculturalismo (2000), and author of articles in national and international journals.


Philosophy is a powerful force in Latin America. The productivity of Latin American philosophers, considerably increased in the past decade, constitutes a substantial portion of the intellectual reality of the region. Yet, in spite of the many books that have been written about Latin America in recent years, there is not much on contemporary Latin Americans and their philosophy. Thus, many English-speaking scholars, if asked about philosophy in Latin America will, unless they are Latin American specialists, answer by asking, “Is there much philosophical activity in Latin America?” Others may be familiar with a particular philosophical current in the region, for example, philosophy of liberation, and incorrectly identify it with Latin American philosophy in general. Nothing could be more mistaken. This kind of partial and biased understanding of the thought in the region limits people’s perceptions of Latin American philosophical perspectives and contributions. Contemporary Latin American thought should not be confined within narrow categories.
The Special Series Philosophy in Latin America represents a deliberate attempt to introduce core content of Latin American philosophy and thought to the English-speaking reader. The Special Series has been established within the Value Inquiry Book Series (VIBS), and is co-sponsored by the Society for Iberian and Latin American Thought (SILAT). Its emphasis is on philosophical works in ethical theory, applied ethics, and social and political philosophy. The Special Series has two main objectives: first, to be a scholarly forum for Latin American views and perspectives on a wide range of issues in connection with value; second, to promote comprehension and facilitate a dialogue between Latin American and North American and European thinkers.
The present book is the first in the Special Series. The chapters in this volume are on applied ethics, specifically the bioethics that is growing into an established field of study and practice in Latin America. The volume brings under one cover the labors of Latin American scholars from diverse backgrounds. The authors explore a number of questions regarding autonomy, culture, religion, rights, and justice in the context of health care in the region, and they challenge some prevalent notions about Latin Americans and their values. By emphasizing central themes and repeated contrasts, the authors provide powerful insights on Latin American bioethics while encouraging a transcultural dialogue on biomedical issues.

Arleen L. F. Salles
Special Series Editor, Philosophy in Latin America
March 2001

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