Thursday, May 27, 2021

Eric Ip on Law, Virtue, and Public Health Powers (Public Health Ethics)

"Law, Virtue, and Public Health Powers"
Eric Ip
Public Health Ethics
Published on 20 May 2021
Abstract: This article contributes to philosophical reflections on public health law by drawing on virtue jurisprudence, which rests on the straightforward observation that a political community and its laws will inevitably shape the character of its officials and subjects, and that an excellent character is indispensable to fulfilment. Thus, the law is properly set to encourage virtue and discourage vice. This opens a new perspective onto the ultimate purpose of public health law that is human flourishing. The means of pursuing this end is to entrust public health powers to officials to virtuously serve the common good, of which population health is one of its most important constituents, within the bounds of the law of the land. This article calls for the adoption of a Prudent Public Health Official standard into the law, in order to cultivate prudent, just, courageous and temperate characters in officialdom. Interestingly, this standard already chimes with certain pre-existing core principles of public health judicial doctrine in the USA, the European Union and the UK.

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