What is ‘Substantive Public Health Ethics’?1
Public Health Ethics Angus Dawson proposes is indeed radical in that it parts companies with the view of traditional bioethics in which forms of liberalism remain dominant. It is also substantive in that it starts with the nature of public health as practice. In these respects, his idea of public health ethics is significant. However, further clarification is needed, for instance, for the requirement of having no prior commitment in relevant values, and his method of framing public health ethics. First, despite his intention, this requirement may also stand for neutrality or tolerance, which are emphasized in liberal bioethics. Second, he appears to advocate a bottom-up approach to establishing public health ethics, but this approach seems to lack an external critical scrutiny of public health practice, which is of great importance especially when its political nature is taken into consideration.
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