The Philosophy of Public Health  book cover
1st Edition

The Philosophy of Public Health

ISBN 9781138259676
Published November 29, 2016 by Routledge
208 Pages

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Book Description

Public health is a particular area of medical practice that raises a series of philosophical issues that require urgent discussion. The philosophy of public health includes metaphysical questions such as, what do we mean by 'public' in public health? How ought we to conceptualise the idea of 'populations'? Are they merely aggregations of individuals? It also includes epistemological questions such as, what methods are most appropriate for thinking about public health? How do empirical and normative issues relate to each other? Controversial ethical, political and social issues, including those relating to vaccinations, the threat of pandemics and possible restrictions to individual liberties, public health research, screening and obesity policy should also be considered. This volume includes a diverse set of papers exploring a number of the most important theoretical and practical issues that arise across the whole field of the philosophy of public health.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: the philosophy of public health, Angus Dawson; The role of law in public health, Robyn Martin; Luck, risk and prevention, Katherine King; The duty to promote social capital, Patricia Illingworth; On the evaluative space for measuring public health performance, Onyebuchi A. Arah; Global concerns and local arguments: how a localized bioethics may perpetuate injustice, Søren Holm; Health in developing countries and our global responsibilities, Gillian Brock; Shared responsibility agreements: causes of contention, Paula Boddington; Anti-paternalism and public health policy: the case of product safety legislation, Kalle Grille; Newborn screening and choosing whether to know, Niels Nijsingh; Choosing to sleep, Benjamin Hale and Lauren Hale; Categories of constraint and avenues of freedom: proposing collective agency for addressing problems of obesity, Catherine A. Womack; Equipoise in public health research, Marcel Verweij; Closing the book on infectious disease: the mischievous consequences for bioethics and for public health, Leslie P. Francis, Margaret P. Battin, Jay A. Jacobson and Charles B. Smith; The common good argument and HIV prevention, Charlotte Paul; Contagious disease and rights, T.M. Wilkinson; Index

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Angus Dawson is Professor of Public Health Ethics and Head of Medicine, Ethics, Society & History (MESH) at the University of Birmingham, UK.


'This book provides a much needed introduction to some of the relevant philosophical concepts and arguments that might be used to build a philosophy of public health. Consisting of both theoretical contributions and case studies this multidisciplinary collection of essays will both inform and generate debate among academics, policy makers and practitioners about these important issues in public health.' Lawrence O. Gostin, Georgetown University, USA 'The Philosophy of Public Health is a much needed and long overdue addition to the literature in academic public health. Much of the discourse in public health, including most textbooks, examines and details aspects of epidemiology, biostatistics, disease prevention, and health promotion, but few provide the type of sustained reflection on fundamental questions relating to the meaning and goals of public health as does this volume. Professor Dawson is to be commended and congratulated for assembling a set of engaging and well-argued essays reflecting the diverse and wide-ranging philosophical problems raised by modern public health. It will challenge any reader interested in public health and be a most valuable addition to public health curricula. One hopes this is the first of many such volumes.' Ross Upshur, University of Toronto, Canada ’I do not hesitate to recommend this book for its devotion to the philosophical analysis of a series of crucial public health concepts and dilemmas. The chapters of the book will be of definite...interest to public health practitioners, scientists, teachers and students as well as philosophers.’ European Journal of Public Health ’As the book itself suggests, it should be of interest to a wide audience including academics, policy makers and practitioners. I'd suggest that undergraduate and postgraduate students of public health and related disciplines would benefit from engaging with some of the key debates and I will definitely be using this book with the postgraduate stu