Public Health Or Clinical Ethics: Thinking Beyond Borders (Special Section)
Ethics & International Affairs 2002, Oct, 16, 2
Ethics & International Affairs
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Most work in medical ethics across the last twenty-five years has centered on the ethics of clinical medicine. Even work on health and justice has, in the main, been concerned with the just distribution of (access to) clinical care for individual patients. By contrast, the ethics of public health has been widely neglected. This neglect is surprising, given that public health interventions are often the most effective (and most cost-effective) means of improving health in rich and poor societies alike. In this essay I explore two sources of contemporary neglect of public health ethics. One source of neglect is that contemporary medical ethics has been preoccupied--in my view damagingly preoccupied--with the autonomy of individual patients. Yet individual autonomy can hardly be a guiding ethical principle for public health measures, since many of them must be uniform and compulsory if they are to be effective. A second source of neglect is that contemporary political philosophy has been preoccupied--in my view damagingly preoccupied--with the requirements for justice within states or societies, and (until very recently) has hardly discussed justice across borders. Yet public health problems often cross borders, and public health interventions have to measure up to the problems they address.
- 2,99 €
- Category: Politics & Current Affairs
- Published: 01 October 2002
- Publisher: Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs
- Print Length: 23 Pages
- Language: English