Date: 10 February 2021
Iwao Hirose is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Value Theory and the Philosophy of Public Policy. His research areas are normative ethics and the philosophy of social science.
In order to respond to the outbreak of infectious disease, the government implements a range of extraordinary measures and restricts basic individual freedom, e.g., putting the infected persons in quarantine, limiting the freedom of movement, shutting down non-essential business, and so on. Ethically speaking, can such restrictions be justified? I will make two claims. First, in order to answer the question, ethicists are expected to be constrained by what I call the "common ground constraint". Second, some restrictions (e.g., shutting down non-essential business) cannot be ethically justified unless the common ground constraint is violated.
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