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Authoritarian versus responsive communitarian bioethics
  1. Amitai Etzioni
  1. Correspondence to Dr Amitai Etzioni, The Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies, The George Washington University, 1922 F St NW, Suite 413, Washington, DC 20037, USA; etzioni{at}gwu.edu

Abstract

A communitarian approach to bioethics adds a core value to a field that is often more concerned with considerations of individual autonomy. Some interpretations of liberalism put the needs of the patient over those of the community; authoritarian communitarianism privileges the needs of society over those of the patient. Responsive communitarianism's main starting point is that we face two conflicting core values, autonomy and the common good, and that neither should be a priori privileged and that we have principles and procedure that can be used to work out this conflict but not to eliminate it. Additionally, it favours changing behaviour mainly through the creation of norms and by drawing on informal social control rather than by coercion.

  • Bioethics
  • communitarianism
  • autonomy
  • common good
  • public health
  • philosophical ethics
  • quality/value of life/personhood
  • social aspects

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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