David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Medical Ethics 31 (11):648-653 (2005)
Receiving information about threats to one’s health can contribute to anxiety and depression. In contemporary medical ethics there is considerable consensus that patient autonomy, or the patient’s right to know, in most cases outweighs these negative effects of information. Worry about the detrimental effects of information has, however, been voiced in relation to public health more generally. In particular, information about uncertain threats to public health, from—for example, chemicals—are said to entail social costs that have not been given due consideration. This criticism implies a consequentialist argument for withholding such information from the public in their own best interest. In evaluating the argument for this kind of epistemic paternalism, the consequences of making information available must be compared to the consequences of withholding it. Consequences that should be considered include epistemic effects, psychological effects, effects on private decisions, and effects on political decisions. After giving due consideration to the possible uses of uncertain information and rebutting the claims that uncertainties imply small risks and that they are especially prone to entail misunderstandings and anxiety, it is concluded that there is a strong case against withholding of information about uncertain threats to public health.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
K. Voigt (2010). Smoking and Social Justice. Public Health Ethics 3 (2):91-106.
Daniel Sperling (2010). Food Law, Ethics, and Food Safety Regulation: Roles, Justifications, and Expected Limits. [REVIEW] Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (3):267-278.
Peter G. Modin & Sven Ove Hansson (2011). Moral and Instrumental Norms in Food Risk Communication. Journal of Business Ethics 101 (2):313 - 324.
David Levy, Ben Gadd, Ian Kerridge & Paul A. Komesaroff (2015). A Gentle Ethical Defence of Homeopathy. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 12 (2):203-209.
Similar books and articles
Michael J. Meyer (1992). Patients' Duties. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 17 (5):541-555.
A. Vilhelmsson, T. Svensson & A. Meeuwisse (2011). Mental Ill Health, Public Health and Medicalization. Public Health Ethics 4 (3):207-217.
Stephen Holland (2009). Public Health Paternalism—a Response to Nys. Public Health Ethics 2 (3):285-293.
Lawrence O. Gostin (2001). Health Information: Reconciling Personal Privacy with the Public Good of Human Health. [REVIEW] Health Care Analysis 9 (3):321-335.
J. Wilson (2011). Why It's Time to Stop Worrying About Paternalism in Health Policy. Public Health Ethics 4 (3):269-279.
Thomas Nys (2009). Public Health Paternalism: Continuing the Dialogue. Public Health Ethics 2 (3):294-298.
Adam D. Moore (2010). Privacy, Public Health, and Controlling Medical Information. HEC Forum 22 (3):225-240.
Matt Commers (2002). Determinants of Health: Theory, Understanding, Portrayal, Policy. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Darren Shickle (2000). ÂOn a Supposed Right to Lie [to the Public] From Benevolent Motivesâ Communicating Health Risks to the Public. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 3 (3):241-249.
Jonny Anomaly (2011). Public Health and Public Goods. Public Health Ethics 4 (3):251-259.
Added to index2010-01-17
Total downloads77 ( #39,196 of 1,724,878 )
Recent downloads (6 months)30 ( #34,391 of 1,724,878 )
How can I increase my downloads?