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

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Fritz Jahr, author of the term Bio-Ethik back in 1926.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Iva Rinčić.

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Muzur, A., Rinčić, I. & Sodeke, S. The Real Wisconsin Idea: The Seven Pillars of Van Rensselaer Potter’s Bioethics. J Agric Environ Ethics 29, 587–596 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10806-016-9621-z

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Keywords

  • Bioethics
  • Environment
  • Madison–Wisconsin
  • V. R. Potter