On a Communitarian Approach to Bioethics

12 Pages Posted: 17 May 2014

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: August 7, 2011


A communitarian approach to bioethics adds a core value to a field that is often more concerned with considerations of individual autonomy. Some interpretations of liberalism put the needs of the patient over those of the community; authoritarian communitarianism privileges the needs of society over those of the patient. Responsive communitarianism’s main starting point is that we face two conflicting core values, autonomy and the common good, and that neither should be a priori privileged, and that we have principles and procedures that can be used to work out this conflict but not to eliminate it. This discussion uses the debate in the US over funding for entitlements as a case study to apply the values of communitarian bioethics.

Keywords: autonomy, community, common good, medicare

JEL Classification: I10

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, On a Communitarian Approach to Bioethics (August 7, 2011). Theoretical Medecine and Bioethics, Vol. 32, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2437580

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 4058
Washington, DC 20037
United States

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