Towards a Rhetoric of Medical Law

Towards a Rhetoric of Medical Law

Challenging the dominant account of medical law as normatively and conceptually subordinate to medical or bioethics, this book provides an innovative account of medical law as a rhetorical practice. The aspiration to provide a firm grounding for medical law in ethical principle has not yet been realized. Rather, legal doctrine is marked, if anything, by increasingly evident contradiction and indeterminacy that are symptomatic of the inherently contingent nature of legal argumentation. Against the idea of a timeless, placeless ethics as the master discipline for medical law, this book demonstrates how judicial and academic reasoning seek to manage this contingency, through the deployment of rhetorical strategies, persuasive to concrete audiences within specific historical, cultural and political contexts. Informed by social and legal theory, cultural history and literary criticism, John Harrington’s careful reading of key judicial decisions, legislative proposals and academic interventions offers an original, and significant, understanding of medical law.

Towards a Rhetoric of Medical Law

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