Liberty, Mill and the Framework of Public Health Ethics

Public Health Ethics 5 (1):6-15 (2012)

Authors
Yashar Saghai
Johns Hopkins University
Madison Powers
Georgetown University
Abstract
In this article, we address the relevance of J.S. Mill’s political philosophy for a framework of public health ethics. In contrast to some readings of Mill, we reject the view that in the formulation of public policies liberties of all kinds enjoy an equal presumption in their favor. We argue that Mill also rejects this view and discuss the distinction that Mill makes between three kinds of liberty interests: interests that are immune from state interference; interests that enjoy a presumption in favor of liberty; and interests that enjoy no such presumption. We argue that what is of focal importance for Mill in protecting liberty is captured by the essential role that the value of self-determination plays in human well-being. Finally, we make the case for the plausibility of a more complex and nuanced Millian framework for public health ethics that would modify how the balancing of some liberty and public health interests should proceed by taking the thumb off the liberty end of the scale. Mill’s arguments and the legacy of liberalism support certain forms of state interference with marketplace liberties for the sake of public health objectives without any presumption in favor of liberty
Keywords Mill  Liberty  Public health ethics  Control  Self-determination
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/phe/phs002
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

References found in this work BETA

Public Health Ethics and Liberalism.Lubomira V. Radoilska - 2009 - Public Health Ethics 2 (2):135-145.
Public Health Ethics: A Manifesto.Angus Dawson & Marcel Verweij - 2008 - Public Health Ethics 1 (1):1--2.
Editorial: Political Philosophy and Public Health Ethics.A. Dawson - 2009 - Public Health Ethics 2 (2):121-122.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Salvaging the Concept of Nudge: Table 1.Yashar Saghai - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (8):487-493.
Disadvantage, Social Justice and Paternalism.A. M. Viens - 2013 - Public Health Ethics 6 (1):28-34.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Was Mill a Liberal?Chin-Liew Ten - 2002 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 1 (3):355-370.
John Stuart Mill on Health Care Reform.Sean Donaghue Johnston - 2011 - Social Philosophy Today 27:63-74.
Mill on Liberty.Ted Honderich - 1967 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 10 (1-4):292 – 297.
On Liberty and Other Essays.John Stuart Mill (ed.) - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
Public Health and Public Goods.Jonny Anomaly - 2011 - Public Health Ethics 4 (3):251-259.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2012-02-17

Total views
506 ( #7,454 of 2,243,852 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
87 ( #5,701 of 2,243,852 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature