A Bridge Back to the Future: Public Health Ethics, Bioethics, and Environmental Ethics

American Journal of Bioethics 17 (9):5-12 (2017)
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Abstract

Contemporary biomedical ethics and environmental ethics share a common ancestry in Aldo Leopold's and Van Rensselaer Potter's initial broad visions of a connected biosphere. Over the past five decades, the two fields have become strangers. Public health ethics, a new subfield of bioethics, emerged from the belly of contemporary biomedical ethics and has evolved over the past 25 years. It has moved from its traditional concern with the tension between individual autonomy and community health to a wider focus on social justice and solidarity. Public health has a broad focus that includes individual, community, and environmental health. Public health ethics attends to these broad commitments reflected in the increasing concern with the connectedness of health of individuals to the health of populations, to the health of animals, to the health of the environment; it is well situated to reconnect all three “fields” of ethics to promote a healthier planet.

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