Biotechnology, the Limits of Norton's Convergence Hypothesis, and Implications for an Inclusive Concept of Health

Ethics and the Environment 5 (2):229-241 (2000)
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Bryan Norton proposes a "convergence hypothesis'* stating that anthropocentrists and nonanthropocentrists can arrive at common environmental policy goals if certain constraints are applied. Within his theory he does not, however, address the consideration ofnonconsequentualist issues, and, therefore, does not provide an argument for the convergence between consequentualist and nonconsequentualist ethical positions. In the case of biotechnology, nonconsequentualist issues can dominate the debate in both the fields of environmental ethics and bioethics. I argue that, the convergence hypothesis must be rejected when tested against the case of biotechnology, and this limitation of convergence applies to any theory of reconciliation within the "health" concept because the achievement and preservation of "health "emphasizes a consequentualist outlook. I conclude that an inclusive ethics for ecosystem and human health should be explicit about this limitation



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