Biomedical and Environmental Ethics Alliance: Common Causes and Grounds

  • Lori GruenEmail author
  • William Ruddick


In the late 1960s Van Rensselaer Potter, a biochemist and cancer researcher, thought that our survival was threatened by the domination of military policy makers and producers of material goods ignorant of biology. He called for a new field of Bioethics—“a science of survival.” Bioethics did develop, but with a narrower focus on medical ethics. Recently there have been attempts to broaden that focus to bring biomedical ethics together with environmental ethics. Though the two have many differences—in habits of thought, scope of concern, and value commitments—in this paper we argue that they often share common cause and we identify common ground through an examination of two case studies, one addressing drug development, the other food production.


Environmental and biomedical ethics Factory farming Sustainability Taxol 



The authors would like to thank two anonymous referees for comments, and Dale Jamieson for illuminating discussions of the concerns of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyWesleyan UniversityMiddletownUSA
  2. 2.Philosophy and Center for BioethicsNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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