The Ecosystem of Bioethics: Building Bridges to Public Health
Understanding bioethical inquiry as ecosystem aligns that thinking about health conceptually close to public health ethics. Despite having roots in decades-long, culturally-diverse, and disciplinarily-broad concerns about the relationships of human beings to environment as manifest in the work of Fritz Jahr and Van Rensselaer Potter, medical “mainstream” bioethics has maintained a relatively narrow focus on individual health. The practical instantiations of bioethics are inconsistent both with the term’s own historical international contexts and the ecosystemic nature of health, a concept of systems that includes both cultural and biological interactions. Following a growing number of international calls for such change in bioethics, this paper argues that a reinvigoration of bioethics demands transdisciplinary intersections of ecology, value, and health – as a bridge connecting across to the identified projects of public health ethics.
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