Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Autonomous Individual or Cog In The Wheel? [Blog Item at The Public’s Health]

Autonomous Individual or Cog In The Wheel? [ The Public’s Health]

Excerpt from the 29 December 2011 blog item

Although a community can only be as healthy as its collective individuals, by name alone, public health implies promoting wellbeing at the population level, even at the expense of the individual. There are two often-mentioned competing concepts in public health: the principle of autonomy and the ethical theory of utilitarianism.

Autonomy implies individuals have control over their lives and should be able to make decisions governing their health, as they are the only ones who truly understand their own personal choices and lifestyle. For example, if one of us as an individual chooses to consume high fat or high sugar foods, then we should be able to do so without the government imposing taxes on our unhealthy products of choice. It is our body alone, and no one should tell us how to treat it.

Utilitarianism, on the other hand, is an ethical theory that guides decisions based on the act that will produce the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people. …

Read the entire posting by Dr. Rubin here

January 3, 2012 - Posted by | Public Health | , , ,

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