Principlism, medical individualism, and health promotion in resource-poor countries: Can autonomy-based bioethics promote social justice and population health? Public Deposited

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  • Rennie, Stuart
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Social Medicine
    • Other Affiliation: Department of Philosophy, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Private Bag X3 Rondebosch7701, South Africa
  • Azétsop, Jacquineau
    • Other Affiliation: Faculté de Médécine Teilhard de Chardin, Complexe Médical le Bon Samaritain, N’djaména, BP 456, Chad
  • Abstract Through its adoption of the biomedical model of disease which promotes medical individualism and its reliance on the individual-based anthropology, mainstream bioethics has predominantly focused on respect for autonomy in the clinical setting and respect for person in the research site, emphasizing self-determination and freedom of choice. However, the emphasis on the individual has often led to moral vacuum, exaggeration of human agency, and a thin (liberal?) conception of justice. Applied to resource-poor countries and communities within developed countries, autonomy-based bioethics fails to address the root causes of diseases and public health crises with which individuals or communities are confronted. A sociological explanation of disease causation is needed to broaden principles of biomedical ethics and provides a renewed understanding of disease, freedom, medical practice, patient-physician relationship, risk and benefit of research and treatment, research priorities, and health policy.
Date of publication
  • doi:10.1186/1747-5341-5-1
  • 20082703
Resource type
  • Article
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
Rights holder
  • Jacquineau Azétsop et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Journal title
  • Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine
Journal volume
  • 5
Journal issue
  • 1
Page start
  • 1
  • English
Is the article or chapter peer-reviewed?
  • Yes
  • 1747-5341
Bibliographic citation
  • Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine. 2010 Jan 18;5(1):1
  • Open Access
  • BioMed Central Ltd

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