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date: 20 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The field of public health ethics has plural foundations in major normative ethical theories, principally consequentialism and deontology, and in ethical concepts such as social justice and human rights. This overview provides some basic background on ethical theory and introduces chapters in the related section of The Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics. The four chapters together elucidate the moral foundations of public health ethics. One chapter characterizes public health and describes the ethical challenges raised by its distinctive characteristics, while the next examines the ways in which public health interventions may be morally justifiable. The following two chapters focus, respectively, on justice and human rights, considering the operation of each not only as moral foundations, but also as side constraints in frameworks of public health ethics.

Keywords: public health ethics, consequentialism, deontology, social justice, justice, human rights

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