Utrecht University
Department for Philosophy and Religious Studies
PhD, 1998
Areas of Specialization
Applied Ethics
Normative Ethics
Areas of Interest
Applied Ethics
Normative Ethics
  •  933
    The rule of rescue holds that special weight should be given to protecting the lives of assignable individuals in need, implying that less weight is given to considerations of cost-effectiveness. This is sometimes invoked as an argument for funding or reimbursing life-saving treatment in public healthcare even if the costs of such treatment are extreme. At first sight one might assume that an individualist approach to ethics—such as Scanlon’s contractualism—would offer a promising route to justi…Read more
  •  459
    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
  •  231
    Ethical Promises and Pitfalls of OneHealth
    Public Health Ethics 9 (1): 1-4. 2016.
    Emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola, Hendra, SARS, West Nile, Hepatitis E and avian influenza have led to a renewed recognition of how diseases in human beings, wildlife and livestock are interlinked. The changing prevalence and spread of such infections are largely determined by human activities and changes in environment and climate—where the latter are often also caused by human activities. Since the beginning of the 21st century, these insights have been brought together under the hea…Read more
  •  138
    Moral principles for allocating scarce medical resources in an influenza pandemic
    Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 6 (2): 159--169. 2009.
    One of the societal problems in a new influenza pandemic will be how to use the scarce medical resources that are available for prevention and treatment, and what medical, epidemiological and ethical justifications can be given for the choices that have to be made. Many things may become scarce: personal protective equipment, antiviral drugs, hospital beds, mechanical ventilation, vaccination, etc. In this paper I discuss two general ethical principles for priority setting (utility and equity) a…Read more
  •  82
    Risk, Risk Groups and Population Health
    with A. Dawson
    Public Health Ethics 5 (3): 213-215. 2012.
  •  60
    Nudges in Public Health: Paternalism Is Paramount
    with Mariëtte van Den Hoven
    American Journal of Bioethics 12 (2): 16-17. 2012.
    The American Journal of Bioethics, Volume 12, Issue 2, Page 16-17, February 2012
  •  60
    Moral assessment of growth hormone therapy for children with idiopathic short stature
    with F. Kortmann
    Journal of Medical Ethics 23 (5): 305-309. 1997.
    The prescription of growth hormone therapy for children who are not growth hormone deficient is one of the controversies in contemporary paediatric endocrinology. Is it morally appropriate to enhance the growth, by means of medical treatment, of a child wish idiopathic short stature? The medical, moral, and philosophical questions in this area are many. Data on the effects of human growth hormone (hGH) treatment will not on their own provide us with answers, as these effects have to be evaluated…Read more
  •  55
    Republication: In that case
    with Els Reijn
    Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 5 (1): 79--79. 2008.
  •  54
    Donor blood screening and moral responsibility: how safe should blood be?
    with Koen Kramer
    Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (3): 187-191. 2018.
    Some screening tests for donor blood that are used by blood services to prevent transfusion-transmission of infectious diseases offer relatively few health benefits for the resources spent on them. Can good ethical arguments be provided for employing these tests nonetheless? This paper discusses—and ultimately rejects—three such arguments. According to the ‘rule of rescue’ argument, general standards for cost-effectiveness in healthcare may be ignored when rescuing identifiable individuals. The …Read more
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    Thanks to our reviewers and others
    Public Health Ethics 2 (2): 206-206. 2009.
  •  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
  •  38
    Public health dilemmas concerning a 2-year old hepatitis-b carrier – response
    with Jim van Steenbergen
    Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 5 (1): 87--89. 2008.
  •  37
    Health inequities in times of a pandemic
    Public Health Ethics 2 (3): 207-209. 2009.
    (No abstract is available for this citation)
  •  35
    Public Health: Beyond the Role of the State
    Public Health Ethics 8 (1): 1-3. 2015.
  •  35
    BACKGROUND: The availability of costly safety measures against transfusion-transmissible infections forces Western countries to confront difficult ethical questions. How to decide about implementing such measures? When are such decisions justified? As a preliminary to addressing these questions, we assessed which concerns shape actual donor blood safety policymaking in five Western countries. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Our qualitative study involved determining which issues had been discussed in …Read more
  •  34
    Public health ethics: A manifesto
    Public Health Ethics 1 (1): 1--2. 2008.
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    The Steward of the Millian State
    Public Health Ethics 1 (3): 193-195. 2008.
  •  29
    Personal Health Monitoring and Human Interaction
    American Journal of Bioethics 12 (9): 47-48. 2012.
    The American Journal of Bioethics, Volume 12, Issue 9, Page 47-48, September 2012
  •  27
    In that case
    with Els Reijn
    Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 4 (3): 245--246. 2007.
  •  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