Mapping the Issues: Public Health, Law and Ethics
Lawrence O. Gostin
Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law
June 29, 2010
PUBLIC HEALTH LAW AND ETHICS: A READER, Milbank Memorial Fund and the University of California Press, 2010
Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 10-36
The field of public health is typically regarded as a positivistic pursuit and, undoubtedly, our understanding of the etiology and response to disease is heavily influenced by scientific inquiry. Public health policies, however, are shaped not only by science but also by ethical values, legal norms, and political oversight. Public Health Law and Ethics: A Reader (expanded and updated 2nd ed., 2010) probes and seeks to illuminate this complex interplay, through a careful selection of government reports, scholarly articles, and court cases together with discussion and analysis of critical problems at the interface of law, ethics, and public health. The Reader is a companion volume for the accompanying treatise, Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint (Berkeley and New York: Milbank Memorial Fund and University of California Press, 2nd ed. 2008), available at http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/11023.php.
The purposes of the main treatise and the Reader are to aid scholarship, inform the public, and support teaching of public health law and ethics in schools of law, public health, medicine, nursing, and public administration.
Despite the integral nature of the interplay between public health, law, and ethics, each of these three fields has its separate identity, and the three have rarely cross-fertilized. For the most part, each of these fields has adopted its own terminologies and forms of reasoning. To the extent that scholars and practitioners in the fields of law and ethics have engaged in sustained examinations of issues in health, they have focused principally on medical care. This introductory chapter maps the important features of, and issues in, law and ethics as they pertain to the theory and practice of public health.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Keywords: law, ethics, public health
JEL Classification: I10, I18, K00, K30, K32
Date posted: July 1, 2010