OOS 1-2 - The biocultural ethic: Linking theories of diversity in society and nature in practice

Monday, August 7, 2017: 1:50 PM
Portland Blrm 254, Oregon Convention Center
Ricardo Rozzi, Omora Ethnobotanical Park, Puerto Williams, Chile; Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, IEB-UMAG-UNT, Denton, TX

The biocultural ethic recovers an understanding of the vital links between the life habits of the co-inhabitants (humans and other-than-humans) that share a habitat. The "3Hs" formal framework of the biocultural ethic provides a conceptual and methodological tool to understand and to better manage complex eco-social or biocultural systems in heterogeneous regions of the planet. From the global bioethics originally proposed by V.R. Potter, the integration of theory and praxis promoted by Alfredo Pradenas in the Bioethics Society of Chile, and the conceptual framework of the biocultural ethic (including traditions of philosophical thought, scientific and Amerindians), I develop a comparative analysis of: (i) an ecosystemic and intercultural concept of the human body, (ii) an intercultural understanding of health with complementary Western and Native American medicinal practices, and (iii) an appreciation and respect for the fundamental links among the life habits, the habitats where they take place, and the well-being and identity of the communities of co-in-habitants.


Implicit links in the "3Hs" biocultural ethics are present in the archaic meanings of the term ethos. This understanding retrieves a primordial root in the genesis of Western ethics, which did not start bounded to how to inhabit or dwell, but also considered where to inhabit and with whom to co-inhabit. I propose to restore the complexity and breadth of the concept of ethics originated in Ancient Greece, to reaffirm the common roots of bioethics and environmental ethics contained in Potter’s global bioethics, and to incorporate the systemic and contextual perspective of the biocultural ethic that values biological and cultural diversity (and their interrelationships), to sustain a conception of human health interconnected with the sustainability of the biosphere.