Public health ethics and liberalism

Public Health Ethics 2 (2):135-145 (2009)
Abstract
This paper defends a distinctly liberal approach to public health ethics and replies to possible objections. In particular, I look at a set of recent proposals aiming to revise and expand liberalism in light of public health's rationale and epidemiological findings. I argue that they fail to provide a sociologically informed version of liberalism. Instead, they rest on an implicit normative premise about the value of health, which I show to be invalid. I then make explicit the unobvious, republican background of these proposals. Finally, I expand on the liberal understanding of freedom as non-interference and show its advantages over the republican alternative of freedom as non-domination within the context of public health. The views of freedom I discuss in the paper do not overlap with the classical distinction between negative and positive freedom. In addition, my account differentiates the concepts of freedom and autonomy and does not rule out substantive accounts of the latter. Nor does it confine political liberalism to an essentially procedural form.
Keywords Liberalism  republicanism  alternative conceptions of freedom  health as a value
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References found in this work BETA
Colin Bird (2007). Harm Versus Sovereignty: A Reply to Ripstein. Philosophy and Public Affairs 35 (2):179–194.
Philip Pettit (1995). The Cunning of Trust. Philosophy and Public Affairs 24 (3):202–225.

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Citations of this work BETA
Katherine Irene Pettus (2012). Global Govern-Mentality? American Journal of Bioethics 12 (12):61-62.

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