Why Bioethics Must be Global

In John Coggon & Swati Gola (eds.), Global Health and International Community: Ethical, Political and Regulatory Challenges. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 43-62 (2013)
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This chapter considers what type of bioethics is necessary to address contemporary issues in global health. It explores what kind of ethics, or bioethics, is needed to adequately address such concerns, and argues that because the most pressing ethical dilemmas are global, a global framework must be adopted. Moreover, it argues that to adopt a local model of ethics (whether one community, one nation state or one area of jurisdiction) will fail to illuminate key issues of injustice and thus will ultimately fail as an ethical framework. In short, the global nature of current health issues requires that ethics is global. This argument is a practical one, and one which should be uncontroversial given the clear need for this response. Thus this chapter goes on to explore why, if the need for a global ethical approach is so clearly required by the global nature of health concerns, there is still a debate about whether ethics can or should be global. Thus the chapter looks briefly at the arguments against a global approach to ethics and goes on to suggest a global model of ethics which addresses at least some of these concerns. In order to make this argument the chapter begins by outlining why only a global bioethics or ethics is appropriate. It will argue that global bioethics is necessary for both practical and ethical reasons. As a matter of practicality a global approach to bioethics is necessary as health issues are essentially global; and ethically, not to recognize the global implications of health issues is to endorse the significant injustice which occurs in the arena of global health. Given this the chapter will then go on to consider why, given the overwhelming reasons for adopting a global ethical framework, that the debate about whether ethics should be local or global is still ongoing. The chapter will finish with a brief overview of the global ethics model and will suggest that it might address some of the concerns of those who are wary of global approaches. This chapter is available Open Access (http://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781472544582.ch-003)



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Author Profiles

Heather Widdows
University of Birmingham
Peter G. N. West-Oram
Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Citations of this work

Global Health Justice and the Right to Health.Heather Widdows - 2015 - Health Care Analysis 23 (4):391-400.

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Famine, Affluence, and Morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Oxford University Press USA.
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Virtue Theory and Abortion.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1997 - In Roger Crisp & Michael Slote (eds.), Virtue Ethics. Oxford University Press.

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