Utrecht University
Department for Philosophy and Religious Studies
PhD, 1998
Areas of Specialization
Applied Ethics
Normative Ethics
Areas of Interest
Applied Ethics
Normative Ethics
  •  3
    Injustice in Food-Related Public Health Problems: A Matter of Corporate Responsibility
    with Tjidde Tempels and Vincent Blok
    Business Ethics Quarterly 30 (3): 388-413. 2020.
    ABSTRACTThe responsibility of the food and beverage industry for noncommunicable diseases is a controversial topic. Public health scholars identify the food and beverage industry as one of the main contributors to the rise of these diseases. We argue that aside from moral duties like not doing harm and respecting consumer autonomy, the food industry also has a responsibility for addressing the structural injustices involved in food-related health problems. Drawing on the work of Iris Marion Youn…Read more
  •  7
    Autonomous and informed decision-making : The case of colorectal cancer screening
    with Linda N. Douma, Ellen Uiters, and Danielle R. M. Timmermans
    PLoS ONE 15. 2020.
    Introduction It is increasingly considered important that people make an autonomous and informed decision concerning colorectal cancer screening. However, the realisation of autonomy within the concept of informed decision-making might be interpreted too narrowly. Additionally, relatively little is known about what the eligible population believes to be a 'good' screening decision. Therefore, we aimed to explore how the concepts of autonomous and informed decision-making relate to how the eligib…Read more
  • The title of the article in the initial online publication was mixed up with copy editing information. The original article has been corrected.
  •  5
    ABSTRACT:Many companies engage in dialogue with nongovernmental organizations about societal issues. The question is what a regulative ideal for such dialogues should be. In the literature on corporate social responsibility, the Habermasian notion of communicative action is often presented as a regulative ideal for stakeholder dialogue, implying that actors should aim at consensus and set strategic considerations aside. In this article, we argue that in many cases, communicative action is not a …Read more
  •  10
    Due to its emphasis on experiential interests, animal ethics tends to focus on individuals as the sole unit of moral concern. Many issues in animal ethics can be fruitfully analysed in terms of obligations towards individual animals, but some problems require reflection about collective dimensions of animal life in ways that individualist approaches can’t offer. Criticism of the individualist focus in animal ethics is not new; it has been put forward in particular by environmental ethics approac…Read more
  •  13
    Why Socio-Economic Inequalities in Health Threaten Relational Justice. A Proposal for an Instrumental Evaluation
    with Beatrijs Haverkamp and Karien Stronks
    Public Health Ethics 11 (3): 311-324. 2018.
    In this article, we argue that apart from evaluating the causes and the social determinants of health inequalities, an evaluation of the effects of health inequalities is due. For this, we propose the ideal of relational equality as an evaluative framework, and test to what extent health inequalities threaten this ideal of a society of equals. We identify three ways in which they do and argue that these risks are especially great for those lower down the socio-economic strata. We thus conclude t…Read more
  •  14
    Ethics of infection control measures for carriers of antimicrobial drug–Resistant organisms
    with Babette Rump, Aura Timen, and Marlies Hulscher
    Emerging Infectious Diseases 24 (9). 2018.
    Many countries have implemented infection control measures directed at carriers of multidrug-resistant organisms. To explore the ethical implications of these measures, we analyzed 227 consultations about multidrug resistance and compared them with the literature on communicable disease in general. We found that control measures aimed at carriers have a range of negative implications. Although moral dilemmas seem similar to those encountered while implementing control measures for other infectio…Read more
  •  7
    A Practice-Oriented Review of Health Concepts
    with Beatrijs Haverkamp and Bernice Bovenkerk
    Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (4): 381-401. 2018.
    Whereas theories on health generally argue in favor of one specific concept, we argue that, given the variety of health practices, we need different concepts of health. We thus approach health concepts as a Wittgensteinian family of thick concepts. By discussing five concepts of health offered by theory, we argue that all capture something that seems relevant when we talk and think about health. Classifying these concepts reveals their family resemblances: each of these concepts differs from the…Read more
  •  21
    The Animal Factor in Human Health
    with Bovenkerk Bernice and Herten Joost
    American Journal of Bioethics 17 (9). 2017.
  •  13
    The Animal Factor in Human Health
    with Joost van Herten and Bernice Bovenkerk
    American Journal of Bioethics 17 (9): 28-30. 2017.
  •  23
    ABSTRACTIn this article, we explore the debate on corporate citizenship and the role of business in global governance. In the debate on political corporate social responsibility it is assumed that under globalization business is taking up a greater political role. Apart from economic responsibilities firms assume political responsibilities taking up traditional governmental tasks such as regulation of business and provision of public goods. We contrast this with a subsidiarity-based approach to …Read more
  •  9
    A Dutch medical student has the potentially more virulent Panton-Valentine leukocidin form of MRSA colonization yet shows no signs or symptoms of infection. More than a year ago, a routine MRSA screening of health care personnel providing care for MRSA-positive patients detected the colonization. Since then, the student has been treated intensively but unsuccessfully in an attempt to decolonize her. During this decolonization period, the medical student was barred from performing patient-related…Read more
  •  20
    Ethics of Immunization
    with S. R. Quah and W. C. Cockerham
    Collective immunization can be highly effective in protecting societies against infectious diseases, but policy decisions about both the character and the content of immunization policies require ethical justification. This article offers an overview of ethical aspects that should be taken into account, which include assessment of relevant disease burden, effectiveness and safety of vaccinations, justice and cost-effectiveness, and the question whether immunization should be compulsory.
  •  14
    Influenza vaccination in Dutch nursing homes: Is tacit consent morally justified?
    with M. A. Van den Hoven
    Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 8 (1): 89-95. 2004.
    Objectives: Efficient procedures for obtaining informed (proxy) consent may contribute to high influenza vaccination rates in nursing homes. Yet are such procedures justified? This study’s objective was to gain insight in informed consent policies in Dutch nursing homes; to assess how these may affect influenza vaccination rates and to answer the question whether deviating from standard informed consent procedures could be morally justified. Design: A survey among nursing home physicians. Settin…Read more
  •  41
    The Precautionary Principle and the Tolerability of Blood Transfusion Risks
    with Koen Kramer and Hans L. Zaaijer
    American Journal of Bioethics 17 (3): 32-43. 2017.
    Tolerance for blood transfusion risks is very low, as evidenced by the implementation of expensive blood tests and the rejection of gay men as blood donors. Is this low risk tolerance supported by the precautionary principle, as defenders of such policies claim? We discuss three constraints on applying the precautionary principle and show that respecting these implies tolerating certain risks. Consistency means that the precautionary principle cannot prescribe precautions that it must simultaneo…Read more
  •  5
    Maternal immunisation : Ethical issues
    with Philipp Lambach, Justin R. Ortiz, and Andreas Reis
    There has been increased interest in the potential of maternal immunisation to protect maternal, fetal, and infant health. Maternal tetanus vaccination is part of routine antenatal care and immunisation campaigns in many countries, and it has played an important part in the reduction of maternal and neonatal tetanus. Additional vaccines that have been recommended for routine maternal immunisation include those for influenza and pertussis, and other vaccines are being developed. Maternal immunisa…Read more
  •  8
    The idea of the rule of rescue is that special weight should be given to protecting lives of assignable individuals in need now even if protecting others in the future would be more cost-effective. How can this be justified? One way to cast the problem is to see it as a conflict between a collectivist approach that emphasizes protecting groups or populations versus an approach that boils down to protecting individuals. This chapter argues that one individual-oriented approach to ethics, namely c…Read more
  •  2
    The curious philosopher often answers questions by raising further, more fundamental questions. How can this be fruitful and practical in the context of Wageningen University? Philosophy offers critical reflection on conceptual and normative assumptions in science and society, and that is necessary for responsible practices. I illustrate this by analyzing the concept of quality of life – a key value in the mission of our university – and by questioning current debates about responsibility for he…Read more
  •  2
    In spite of the fact that in recent years many steps have been taken in the control of zoonotic diseases, we are still confronted with recent outbreaks of, for example Ebola and Avian Flu and with public debates on the preferred way to deal with zoonoses. Such debates can easily get polarised. Therefore, we argue that a more integrated approach is needed. In this paper we propose an integration on three levels. First, the One Health initiative could serve a fruitful approach to take the interrel…Read more
  •  8
    Due to its emphasis on experiential interests, animal ethics tends to focus on individuals as the sole unit of moral concern. Many issues in animal ethics can be fruitfully analysed in terms of obligations towards individual animals, but some problems require reflection about collective dimensions of animal life in ways that individualist approaches can’t offer. Criticism of the individualist focus in animal ethics is not new; it has been put forward in particular by environmental ethics approac…Read more
  •  7
    Current thinking on the development of molecular microbial characterisation techniques in public health focuses mainly on operational issues that need to be resolved before incorporation into daily practice can take place. Notwithstanding the importance of these operational challenges, it is also essential to formulate conditions under which such microbial characterisation methods can be used from an ethical perspective. The potential ability of molecular techniques to show relational patterns b…Read more
  •  10
    The growing prevalence of obesity and related conditions such as Type II diabetes is held by many to be a major public health problem in developed countries, and increasingly in developing countries as well. If we wish to tackle this problem, it will be a major task. Individuals will have to change their consumption and exercise patterns, companies will have to improve the products they make and how they market them, nutrition experts and communities will have to redefine what is acceptable and …Read more
  •  4
    Given the ethical aspects of vaccination policies and current threats to public trust in vaccination, it is important that governments follow clear criteria for including new vaccines in a national programme. The Health Council of the Netherlands developed such a framework of criteria in 2007, and has been using this as basis for advisory reports about several vaccinations. However, general criteria alone offer insufficient ground and direction for thinking about what the state ought to do. In t…Read more
  •  3
    Public Health Dilemmas Concerning a 2-year old Hepatitis-B Carrier – Response
    with Jim Steenbergen
    Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 5 (1): 87-89. 2008.