Public Health as Civic Practice
The field of public health ethics today needs philosophical and methodological self-consciousness and self-scrutiny. In “What is Public Health Ethics,” Angus Dawson clarifies the distinctive identity of this rapidly developing field. Public health ethics must be conceptually well-equipped to address its own social and political legitimacy so as to preserve the progressive, humanitarian values of the public health profession at its best. Public health represents a core health and welfare function of the modern state, and it is at the pivot point of contemporary struggle over the meaning of the two key values of our political and ethical tradition: liberty and equality. The fundamental task of public health ethics is not simply to improve population health, but also to articulate an ideal of human well-being, capability, and development for individuals and within communities and social institutions.
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