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Global Bioethics

Building on the Leopold Legacy

Van Rensselaer Potter

Publication Year: 1988

Van Rensselaer Potter created and defined the term "bioethics" in 1970, to describe a new philosophy that sought to integrate biology, ecology, medicine, and human values. Bioethics is often linked to environmental ethics and stands in sharp contrast to biomedical ethics. Because of this confusion (and appropriation of the term in medicine), Potter chose to use the term "Global Bioethics" in 1988. Potter's definition of bioethics from Global Bioethics is, "Biology combined with diverse humanistic knowledge forging a science that sets a system of medical and environmental priorities for acceptable survival."

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Title Page

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pp. i-

Copyright

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pp. ii-

CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

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FOREWORD

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pp. vii-xii

IDEAS HAVE A LIFE AND POWER of their own. An idea can shape or reshape the ways in which we understand and experience reality. Encountering a fruitful idea, we say, Ah-ha! and see the world anew and cannot imagine it otherwise. The ideas that...

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PREFACE

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pp. xiii-xvi

TODAY WE CAN no longer write about the ethics for human survival without reference to our intellectual ancestors. There is little doubt that AIdo Leopold was one of those' ancestors. With his name cited in 27 of 96 articles in the first eighteen issues of the journal, Environmental Ethics, he strongly influenced the development of what we shall describe as ecological bioethics. His book...

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-12

IN 1971 A BASIC TENET OF BIOETHICS was that ethical values cannot be separated from biological facts. 1 At about the same time that my book Bioethics, Bridge to the Future appeared, bioethics as an outgrowth of medical ethics was being developed...

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1. THE LEOPOLD LEGACY

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pp. 13-29

WHEN ALDO LEOPOLD WROTE "The Land Ethic," published in 1948 but developed over a number of years, he expressed a concern which is still applicable today: "Perhaps the most serious obstacle impeding the evolution of a land ethic is the fact that our educational and...

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2. HUMAN SURVIVAL

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pp. 31-55

ON DECEMBER 28, 1954, the American Association for the Advancement of Science held a symposium on "Population Problems," at which Dr. Alan Gregg, vice-president of the Rockefeller Foundation (1951- 56), came up with a startling idea: the thought that the human species is to...

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3. DILEMMAS IN ECOLOGICAL BIOETHICS

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pp. 57-70

WHEN ALDO LEOPOLD completed his textbook on Game Management and began the work that would culminate in possibly his greatest contribution, he drew on his extensive background to produce two axioms that deserve our attention today. First, he established a baseline for all...

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4. TWO KINDS OF BIOETHICS

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pp. 71-94

IT SEEMS WORTHWHILE at this point to note the historical development and ongoing evolution of the global bioethics concept. Aldo Leopold laid the framework for an ecological and population-oriented bioethics of survival in 1949 in his seminal essay "The Land Ethic" as well...

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5. DILEMMAS IN MEDICAL BIOETHICS

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pp. 95-127

EARLIER I PROPOSED that medical bio-ethicists and medical practitioners are primarily concerned with the short-term view of saving individual lives, with patient autonomy, and with "rights to life." This was seen as frequently in conflict with what I conceived as the ecological bioethic, which pursues...

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6. THE CONTROL OF HUMAN FERTILITY

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pp. 129-150

ALDO LEOPOLD WAS APPREHENSIVE about a future involving further increases in population in the Western Hemisphere, basing his views on the concept of "carrying capacity" of the land, that is, the soil, water, air, plants, and animals available to the human species. I am sure that...

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7. GLOBAL BIOETHICS DEFINED

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pp. 151-184

I T IS SO EASY TO APPLAUD THE DRAMATIC, thousand-mile flight of an anencephalic infant through the rebuilding of its heart into a defective newborn by a skilled surgeon. It is easy to comprehend the one-on-one relationship between a desperately ill patient and a wise physician, the medical bioethic that sees no second choice, that...

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Appendix I. THE LEOPOLD HERITAGE

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pp. 185-191

ALDO LEOPOLD was born on January 11, 1887, in Burlington, Iowa, where his father and grandfathers were prominent citizens. He did graduate work and obtained a master's degree in forestry at the Yale Forest School (where the great conservationist Gifford Pinchot was a professor) in June 1909. He entered the U.S. Forest Service...

Appendix 2. A BIOETHICAL CREED FOR INDIVIDUALS

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pp. 193-195

INDEX

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pp. 197-203


E-ISBN-13: 9781609172886
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870132643

Page Count: 203
Publication Year: 1988