Abstract

Both leading scientific journals and the popular press now regularly report the convincing evidence of massive environmental degradation and decline. Yet despite the seriousness of the problems, despite their anthropogenic nature, and despite their profound implications for present and future population health, such topics are rarely discussed in the leading public health journals. When these issues are mentioned, they are examined in the same limited framework as other questions in public health—questions of models and tests of independent causal associations dominate. This approach will not suffice, for both scientific and ethical reasons. If public health scientists wish to sustain human health in the face of such crises, and to retain our integrity as scholars who speak truthfully about public health matters, we will have to broaden the notions of "health" and "community" to include nonhumans. I draw on recent scholarship in moral philosophy and in the philosophy of science to support my argument. Scholars in the health professions must take seriously the words of theologian Andrew Linzey, who states that the attempt to place human well-being in a special and absolute category of its own is perhaps the primary cause of our ecological travail.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 124-135
Launched on MUSE
2007-01-23
Open Access
No
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