This paper introduces principlism as an ethical approach and considers what role some of its features might play in public health.

This paper presents some of the main features of principlism, the well-known and widely-used ?four principles’ approach in medical ethics, and then with those features in mind turns to public health frameworks that rely on principles to see what they have in common as well as how they might differ.

Understanding and recognizing some of principlism’s main features can help practitioners to:

  • Better situate their own ethical deliberations in public health by seeing both the differences and the similarities between various ethical approaches;
  • Identify and make explicit principlist orientations guiding themselves or others in health care or in public health settings, whether in research or practice;
  • Having identified those orientations, communicate more effectively; and
  • Understand some of the historical context and philosophical orientations that underlie public health ethics.

‘Principlism’ and Frameworks in Public Health Ethics
10 pages