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Public health ethics as applied ethics. Debates on the legitimacy and limits of public health engagement



Public health ethics as applied ethics. Debates on the legitimacy and limits of public health engagement



Bundesgesundheitsblatt, Gesundheitsforschung, Gesundheitsschutz 51(2): 127-136



Public health engagement is strongly connected to a relatively new concept of health promotion. This concept focuses on a general health-related attitude which is to be established through the networking of multiple institutional and private actors. Hence the practical realization of this concept leads to extensive transitions concerning the institutions and health-related interventions involved. Meanwhile a critical view of these transitions has become a public issue. Within the critical discussion, the normative limits of public health are questioned and even the legitimacy of public health proves to be at stake. Public health ethics is therefore called to investigate and explicate the legitimacy and the normative limits of public health engagement. It is advised to do so in an applied ethical, i.e. ethical-political, discourse. The value system of free democratic societies serves as the ethical framework that public health ethics has to refer to. Public health ethics is thus to be regarded as an applied ethical discourse distinct from biomedical ethics.

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Accession: 055283370

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 18227986

DOI: 10.1007/s00103-008-0441-9


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