Category Archives: Publication

Chapter on Paternalism towards Children

The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children is published. I contribute a chapter on Paternalism towards Children, where I survey some relevant views from the paternalism debate and the debate on the rights of children, and argue that children can be targets of paternalism, that there is no blanket justification for such paternalism, and that such paternalism is more often justified, for several distinct reasons.

First handbook on paternalism published

The handbook that Jason Hanna and I started working on almost four years ago has now been published, with Routledge. It is the first ever handbook on the philosophy of paternalism, with 27 chapters covering most of what we wanted to cover (a couple of topics fell off as intended authors did not deliver). I am very pleased with the result and with working with Jason.

My own chapter focuses on cases where the paternalist and/or the paternalized is a group of people rather than one individual. Though this is a very common sort of case, its particular features have been only very cursorily discussed in the literature and are quite significant, I think, both conceptually and normatively.

Coming book: The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Paternalism

This book can now be ordered from Routledge: It is due to appear in print in January. I have edited it together with Jason Hanna.

Article on fairness problem for incentive schemes (and prohibitions)

In this new article, I discuss and try to explain and develop an argument made by Richard Arneson in relation to coercive paternalism. The background is that some people, for whatever reasons, are better than others at making choices regarding their own interests. Since making good choices tends to benefit you, and since being better off makes you a better chooser, the ability to choose well tends to be rather stable over choice situations. All this means that any policy in which a given population must respond to some measure by making a wise choice will tend to aggravate existing inequalities within the group. Incentive schemes, in their traditional/archetypical role as focused on reducing costs, have this property, as does prohibitions that are not completely effective (i.e. people can still choose to disobey and so risk punishment). In contrast, physical changes to the choice environment, as well as some forms of nudging, bypass rational agency and so do not have this property.

New Article on Asymmetric Population Axiology

In February 2010 I attended a workshop in Uppsala on climate issues, with John Broome the guest of honor. I presented a new population axiology that I claimed would underpin what Broome calls the neutrality intuition – that we tend to be neutral regarding the addition of new lives to the population; once people are born, their lives should be good, but whether or not they are born in the first place is not a concern. Broome was quite skeptical of my proposal but not, I thought, entirely dismissive. This minimal encouragement and my own stubbornness led me to spend a lot of time on this pet project over the next six years. Countless modifications later, core parts of my theory are published today in Philosophical Studies.

Article on Banning Cigarettes

In an article published today in the Journal of Medical Ethics, my co-author Kristin Voigt and I argue that given that a ban on cigarettes would be effective, it would also be justified and preferable to the status quo, all things considered. We propose that other philosophical arguments for a similar ban, mainly by Bob Goodin and Sarah Conly, have down-played the counter-arguments in terms of freedom and autonomy. Still, we argue, the benefits in terms of well-being and equality outweigh these costs.

Article in Swedish on Population Axiology

In the most recent issue of the Swedish philosophy journal Filosofisk Tidskrift, I explore what population axiology has to say about the disvalue of human extinction, and find that current theories on offer don’t have much to say about this, beyond the consequences in terms of particular lives not lived.

Special issue with article on respect for choice and preference

With Danny Scoccia, I have edited a special issue of Social Theory and Practice, which builds on papers presented at the March 2014 workshop I organized in Umeå on “Respecting Context-Dependent Preferences”. I contribute an article on what exactly we should respect when it comes to a persons choice and preference, taking into account that these often come apart and that preferences are often uninformed and context-dependent.

Article on public health ethics and decision-making

With Angus Dawson, I have written an article on the proper role of ethics in public health decision-making. We criticize some existing ethical frameworks and propose our own step-wise framework, which is, we claim, more value-neutral and more practically useful. Published today in Health Care Analysis.

Chapter on antipaternalism

A volume edited by Thomas Schramme on New Perspectives on Paternalism and Health Care has been published by Springer in the series  Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy. I contribute a chapter titled Antipaternalism as a Filter on Reasons (preprint), where I develop my view of what is the most plausible version of antipaternalism as an independent moral doctrine (which is not a doctrine I subscribe to).