Critical Public Health Ethics. Teaching for Moral Imagination and Discernment

  • Alison K. Thompson
  • Ann Robertson
Part of the Public Health Ethics Analysis book series (PHES, volume 1)


Public health ethics has emerged as a new discipline that differs significantly from traditional bioethics. One approach to this new area of scholarship is critical public health ethics, and it differs again from professional, advocacy and applied ethics approaches to problems arising from public health. Critical approaches situate problems in their historical, social and political context in order to reveal tacit ideological blind spots and to problematize power, ideology and interests. There is also a sense of emancipatory possibility, and a focus on social justice. This approach to public health ethics requires the development of a pedagogy that will encourage the development of moral imagination and moral discernment. The use of close textual analysis in combination with case analysis is used in a graduate seminar at the University of Toronto to encourage a broad range of students to engage critically with arguments and frame and pose questions that will achieve the pedagogical aims of the course.


Distributive Justice Ethical Theory Professional Ethic Framing Effect Moral Imagination 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social and Administrative Pharmacy, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and Joint Centre for BioethicsUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Social and Behavioral Sciences, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and Joint Centre for BioethicsUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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