•  4
    E-cigarettes: The Long-Term Liberal Perspective
    Nicotine and Tobacco. forthcoming.
    The debate for and against making e-cigarettes available to smokers is to a large extent empirical. We do not know the long-term health effects of vaping and we do not know how smokers will respond to e-cigarettes over time. In addition to these empirical uncertainties, however, there are difficult moral issues to consider. One such issue is that many smokers in some sense choose to smoke. Though smoking is addictive and though many start young, it does not seem impossible to plan for and implem…Read more
  •  11
    How Many Parents Should There Be in a Family?
    Journal of Applied Philosophy (3): 467-484. 2020.
    In this article, I challenge the widespread presumption that a child should have exactly two parents. I consider the pros and cons of various numbers of parents for the people most directly affected – the children themselves and their parents. The number of parents, as well as the ratio of parents to children, may have an impact on what resources are available, what relationships can develop between parents and children, what level of conflict can be expected in the family, as well as the costs …Read more
  •  74
    Paternalism towards children
    In Anca Gheaus, Gideon Calder & Jurgen de Wispelaere (eds.), Routledge handbook of the philosophy of childhood and children, . pp. 123-133. 2018.
    Debates on the nature and justifiability of paternalism typically focus only on adults, sometimes presuming without argument that paternalism towards children is a non-issue or obviously justified. Debates on the moral and political status of children, in turn, rarely connect with the rich literature on paternalism. This chapter attempts to bridge this gap by exploring how issues that arise in the general debate on paternalism are relevant also for the benevolent interference with children. I su…Read more
  •  14
    Paternalism by and towards groups
    In Kalle Grill & Jason Hanna (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Paternalism, . pp. 46-58. 2018.
    In many or most instances of paternalism, more than one person acts paternalistically, or more than one person is treated paternalistically. This chapter discusses some complications that arise in such group cases, which are largely ignored in the conceptual debate. First, a group of people who together perform an action may do so for different reasons, which makes it more challenging to determine whether the action is paternalistic. This gives us some reason not to pin the property of being pat…Read more
  •  41
    The case for banning cigarettes
    Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (5): 293-301. 2016.
    Lifelong smokers lose on average a decade of life vis-à-vis non-smokers. Globally, tobacco causes about 5–6 million deaths annually. One billion tobacco-related deaths are predicted for the 21st century, with about half occurring before the age of 70. In this paper, we consider a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes and find that such a ban, if effective, would be justified. As with many policy decisions, the argument for such a ban requires a weighing of the pros and cons and how they impact …Read more
  •  312
    Epistemic Paternalism in Public Health
    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 sa…Read more
  •  17
    While paternalism has been a long-standing philosophical issue, it has recently received renewed attention among scholars and the general public. Comprising twenty-seven chapters by a team of international contributors, this handbook is divided into five parts: (i) What is Paternalism; (ii) Paternalism and Ethical Theory; (iii) Paternalism and Political Philosophy; (iv) Paternalism without Coercion; (v) Paternalism in Practice. Within these sections central debates, issues, and questions are exa…Read more
  •  4
    Incentives, equity and the Able Chooser Problem
    Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (3): 157-161. 2017.
  •  4
    Drink driving causes great suffering and material destruction. The alcohol interlock promises to eradicate this problem by technological design. Traditional counter-measures to drink driving such as policing and punishment and information campaigns have proven insufficient. Extensive policing is expensive and intrusive. Severe punishment is disproportionate to the risks created in most single cases. If the interlock becomes inexpensive and convenient enough, and if there are no convincing moral …Read more
  •  5
    Responsibility, Paternalism and Alcohol Interlocks
    with J. Nihlen Fahlquist
    Public Health Ethics 5 (2): 116-127. 2012.
  •  29
    I first distinguish four types of objection to paternalism and argue that only one – the principled objection – amounts to a substantive and distinct normative doctrine. I then argue that this doctrine should be understood as preventing certain facts from playing the role of reasons they would otherwise play. I explain how this filter approach makes antipaternalism independent of several philosophical controversies: On the role reasons play, on what reasons there are, and on how reasons are rela…Read more
  •  246
    Anti-paternalism and Invalidation of Reasons
    Public Reason 2 (2): 3-20. 2010.
    I first provide an analysis of Joel Feinberg’s anti-paternalism in terms of invalidation of reasons. Invalidation is the blocking of reasons from influencing the moral status of actions, in this case the blocking of personal good reasons from supporting liberty-limiting actions. Invalidation is shown to be distinct from moral side constraints and lexical ordering of values and reasons. I then go on to argue that anti-paternalism as invalidation is morally unreasonable on at least four grounds, n…Read more
  •  524
    The normative core of paternalism
    Res Publica 13 (4): 441-458. 2007.
    The philosophical debate on paternalism is conducted as if the property of being paternalistic should be attributed to actions. Actions are typically deemed to be paternalistic if they amount to some kind of interference with a person and if the rationale for the action is the good of the person interfered with. This focus on actions obscures the normative issues involved. In particular, it makes it hard to provide an analysis of the traditional liberal resistance to paternalism. Given the fact …Read more
  •  12
    with Danny Scoccia
    Social Theory and Practice 41 (4): 577-578. 2015.
  •  734
    In Ruth Chadwick (ed.), Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics, Academic Press. 2011.
    Paternalism means, roughly, benevolent interference: benevolent because it aims at promoting or protecting a person’s good; interference because it restricts his liberty without his consent. The paternalist believes herself superior in that she can secure some benefit for the person that he himself will not secure. Paternalism is opposed by the liberal tradition, at least when it targets sufficiently voluntary behavior. In legal contexts, policies may be paternalistic for some and not for others…Read more
  •  141
    Respect for What?
    Social Theory and Practice 41 (4): 692-715. 2015.
    As liberals, we would like each person to direct her own life in accordance with her will. However, because of the complexities of the human mind, it is very often not clear what a person wills. She may choose one thing though she prefers another, while having false beliefs the correction of which would cause her to prefer some third thing. I propose, against this background, that to respect a person’s will or self-direction is to respect both her choices and her preferences, with some priority …Read more
  •  57
    Asymmetric population axiology: deliberative neutrality delivered
    Philosophical Studies 174 (1): 219-236. 2017.
    Two related asymmetries have been discussed in relation to the ethics of creating new lives: First, we seem to have strong moral reason to avoid creating lives that are not worth living, but no moral reason to create lives that are worth living. Second, we seem to have strong moral reason to improve the wellbeing of existing lives, but, again, no moral reason to create lives that are worth living. Both asymmetries have proven very difficult to account for in any coherent moral framework. I propo…Read more
  •  327
    Expanding the Nudge: Designing Choice Contexts and Choice Contents
    Rationality, Markets and Morals 5 139-162. 2014.
    To nudge is to design choice contexts in order to improve choice outcomes. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein emphatically endorse nudging but reject more restrictive means. In contrast, I argue that the behavioral psychology that motivates nudging also motivates what may be called jolting — i.e. the design of choice content. I defend nudging and jolting by distinguishing them from the sometimes oppressive means with which they can be implemented, by responding to some common arguments against nud…Read more
  •  402
    Liberalism, altruism and group consent
    Public Health Ethics 2 (2): 146-157. 2009.
    This article first describes a dilemma for liberalism: On the one hand restricting their own options is an important means for groups of people to shape their lives. On the other hand, group members are typically divided over whether or not to accept option-restricting solutions or policies. Should we restrict the options of all members of a group even though some consent and some do not? This dilemma is particularly relevant to public health policy, which typically target groups of people with …Read more
  •  64
    Health Promotion: Conceptual and Ethical Issues
    with A. Dawson
    Public Health Ethics 5 (2): 101-103. 2012.
  •  448
    Responsibility, Paternalism and Alcohol Interlocks
    with Jessica Fahlquist
    Public Health Ethics 5 (2): 116-127. 2012.
    Drink driving causes great suffering and material destruction. The alcohol interlock promises to eradicate this problem by technological design. Traditional counter-measures to drink driving such as policing and punishment and information campaigns have proven insufficient. Extensive policing is expensive and intrusive. Severe punishment is disproportionate to the risks created in most single cases. If the interlock becomes inexpensive and convenient enough, and if there are no convincing moral …Read more
  •  588
  •  10
    Neutrality as a constraint on political reasoning
    Ethical Perspectives 19 (3): 547-557. 2012.
  •  94
    Who owns my avatar? -Rights in virtual property
    with Anders Eriksson
    Proceedings of DiGRA 2005 Conference: Changing Views – Worlds in Play. 2005.
    This paper presents a framework for discussing issues of ownership in connection to virtual worlds. We explore how divergent interests in virtual property can be mediated by applying a constructivist perspective to the concept ownership. The simple solutions offered today entail that a contract between the game producer and the gamer gives the game developer exclusive rights to all virtual property. This appears to be unsatisfactory. A number of legitimate interests on part of both producers and…Read more
  •  648
    The Legalization of Drugs (review)
    Theoria 73 (4): 248-255. 2007.
  •  50
    Ethical Frameworks in Public Health Decision-Making: Defending a Value-Based and Pluralist Approach
    with Angus Dawson
    Health Care Analysis 25 (4): 291-307. 2017.
    A number of ethical frameworks have been proposed to support decision-making in public health and the evaluation of public health policy and practice. This is encouraging, since ethical considerations are of paramount importance in health policy. However, these frameworks have various deficiencies, in part because they incorporate substantial ethical positions. In this article, we discuss and criticise a framework developed by James Childress and Ruth Bernheim, which we consider to be the state …Read more
  •  3506
    Normative and Non-normative Concepts: Paternalism and Libertarian Paternalism
    In Daniel Strech, Irene Hirschberg & Georg Marckmann (eds.), Ethics in Public Health and Health Policy, Springer. pp. 27-46. 2013.
    This chapter concerns the normativity of the concepts of paternalism and libertarian paternalism. The first concept is central in evaluating public health policy, but its meaning is controversial. The second concept is equally controversial and has received much attention recently. It may or may not shape the future evaluation of public health policy. In order to facilitate honest and fruitful debate, I consider three approaches to these concepts, in terms of their normativity. Concepts, I claim…Read more
  •  247
    Review of The Legalization of Drugs, de Marneffe and Husak (review)
    Theoria 73 (3): 248-255. 2007.