Choosing Health and the inner citadel

Journal of Medical Ethics 32 (1):3-6 (2006)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

It is argued in this paper that the latest UK government white paper on public health, Choosing Health, is vulnerable to a charge of paternalism. For some years libertarians have levelled this charge at public health policies. The white paper tries to avoid it by constant reference to informed choice and choice related terms. The implication is that the government aims only to inform the public of health issues; how they respond is up to them. It is argued here, however, that underlying the notion of informed choice is a Kantian, ‘‘inner citadel’’ view of autonomy. According to this view, each of us acts autonomously only when we act in accord with reason. On such a view it is possible to justify coercing, cajoling, and conning people on the basis that their current behaviour is not autonomous because it is subject to forces that cause irrational choice, such as addiction. ‘‘Informed choice’’ in this sense is compatible with paternalism. This paternalism can be seen in public health policies such as deceptive advertising and the treatment of ‘‘bad habits’’ as addictions. Libertarians are bound to object to this. In the concluding section, however, it is suggested that public health can, nonetheless, find ethical succour from alternative approaches.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,215

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Public health paternalism—a response to Nys.Stephen Holland - 2009 - Public Health Ethics 2 (3):285-293.
Public Health and Public Goods.Jonny Anomaly - 2011 - Public Health Ethics 4 (3):251-259.
Is Obesity a Public Health Problem?Jonny Anomaly - 2012 - Public Health Ethics 5 (3):216-221.
Why 'health' is not a central category for public health policy.Stephen John - 2009 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 26 (2):129-143.
Public health paternalism: Continuing the dialogue.Thomas Nys - 2009 - Public Health Ethics 2 (3):294-298.
Paternalism in public health care.Thomas R. V. Nys - 2008 - Public Health Ethics 1 (1):64-72.
Free choice, equity, and care: The moral foundations of health care.Chan Ho-mun - 1999 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 24 (6):624 – 637.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-08-24

Downloads
29 (#404,670)

6 months
1 (#449,220)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Peter Allmark
University of Leeds (PhD)

Citations of this work

Information, choice and the ends of health promotion.Angus Dawson - 2014 - Monash Bioethics Review 32 (1-2):106-120.
Arm in arm with righteousness.Iona Heath - 2015 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 10:7.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Sasha Mudd - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (2):281-286.
Mental Disorder, Illness and Biological Disfunction.David Papineau - 1994 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 37:73-82.
Health, happiness and health promotion.Peter Allmark - 2005 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 22 (1):1–15.

View all 6 references / Add more references