Neutrality and Perfectionism in Public Health

Hafez Ismaili M’hamdi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


The aim of this article is twofold. First is to demonstrate that most values that underpin public health policy are a source of reasonable disagreement amongst citizens to whom said policy applies. This demands from the state to be explicit about whether it espouses neutrality or perfectionism to justify public health policy. Second is to argue in favor of a perfectionist mode of justification of public health policy. To do so I will argue that the lowest common denominator approach to public health policy justification to which neutralists are committed yields policy that is strong in justification but feeble in impact. Perfectionist public health policy does not face this problem. Perfectionism however, is allegedly elitist and objectionably paternalistic. I will argue that the former objection is based on an uncharitable reading of perfectionism. To mitigate the latter concern, I will offer a liberal proviso.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-42
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Bioethics
Issue number9
Early online date19 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


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