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Two New Books by Daniel Callahan: A Memoir and Collected Writing on “Roots of Bioethics”

Daniel Callahan, co-founder of The Hastings Center, has published two new books on bioethics and his life in the field he helped establish more than four decades ago: a memoir, In Search of the Good: A Life in Bioethics, and The Roots of Bioethics: Health, Progress, Technology, Death

These works encompass a half century of Callahan’s observations of and influence on how we are born, live, and die – and what it means to be human -- through the prism of the impact of advances in science and medicine 

In Search of the Good (MIT Press) chronicles Callahan’s youth and his founding of The Hastings Center with psychiatrist Will Gaylin in 1969. He describes his secular approach to illness and mortality – and questions the idea of endless medical “progress” and interventionist end-of-life care that seems to blur the boundary between living and dying. The most important challenge for bioethics now, he writes, is to help rethink the very goals of medicine. 

The Roots of Bioethics (Oxford University Press) is a collection of Callahan’s writings in which he addresses four core questions that have recurred throughout his work: How do we view health, progress, technological innovation, and the inevitability of death? Callahan considers these four questions to be the roots of bioethics.

Callahan’s achievements have "earned him recognition as one of a handful of thinkers who shaped the second half of the 20th century," writes Jonathan E. Moreno, David and Lyn Silfen University Professor of the University of Pennsylvania.  

“It is hard to overstate the wise influence that Dan Callahan has had on American culture and values,” writes Lawrence Gostin, University Professor and Director, O’Neill Institute of National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. 

In addition to co-founding The Hastings Center, Callahan is President Emeritus of Hastings and co-director of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy. He is the author or editor of 45 books and is a member of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences.