- Public health paternalism: continuing the dialogue
- Public Health Ethics
- Volume | Issue number
- 2 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
According to Stephen Holland, the challenges I mention in my original paper can be met, so that, in a way, the problem of paternalism in public health care—which I intended to put into perspective by drawing out some possible justifications for it—returns in all its might and glory. But of course, as Holland observes, I never suggested that my challenges could never be met. I only wanted to point out that for each and every particular public health policy that should come to our attention we should reflect upon these challenges and see whether they could provide reasons for justification. I believe that the discussion is often stalled because these measures—in the absence of individual consent and in their aim to benefit the public's ‘best interests’—seem to be paternalist by default. In my paper, I wanted to call this assumption into question, but never intended to prove that there is no such thing as unjustified paternalism in public health care. Nevertheless, Holland's criticism is very insightful and he has done a lot to clarify my position. However, he also puts me on the spot by urging me to argue to what extent I can meet his rebuttal, and I am very grateful for that opportunity.
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