The Real Wisconsin Idea: The Seven Pillars of Van Rensselaer Potter’s Bioethics

  • Amir Muzur
  • Iva RinčićEmail author
  • Stephen Sodeke


Mindful of how the history of bioethics has often been presented, we explore the background, contributions, and influence of Van Rensselaer Potter (1911–2011) on the roots of bioethics. In the last few decades, dozens of papers have been written and published, including several doctoral theses and defenses on V. R. Potter‘s concept of bioethics. In those works, the context of the emergence of Potter’s bioethics has sometimes been suggested, but never analyzed thoroughly. We identify seven pillars of influence for Van Rensselaer Potter’s bioethical credo, drawing on several facts from the rich cultural heritage of Wisconsin, where Potter had lived and worked for the most part of his life.


Bioethics Environment Madison–Wisconsin V. R. Potter 



Research presented in this work has been supported by the Grants to A. Muzur by Croatian Science Foundation (European Bioethics in Action; 7853) and University of Rijeka (The Roots of Bioethics: European and American Contributions to the Construction of a Common History; 844-10-1344).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Sciences and Medical Humanities, School of MedicineUniversity of RijekaRijekaCroatia
  2. 2.Department of Public Health, School of Health StudiesUniversity of RijekaRijekaCroatia
  3. 3.National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care, and College of, Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health SciencesTuskegee UniversityTuskegeeUSA

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