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Transdisciplinary approaches to the ethics of coercive public health policies

Understanding coercion has long been a central concern of analytical, political, and moral philosophy. COVID-19 and other public health challenges press us to find new connections between the ways coercion is experienced, and ethical analysis of coercive actions: how should we scale from individual interactions to collective governance? How does unequal power shape both visibility and justificatory contexts for coercive actions? What constraints are placed on policy makers due to the highly uncertain and rapidly unfolding nature of many public health challenges where coercive action might be warranted?

This workshop will bring together philosophers, social scientists, and humanities scholars from around the world for a focused series of conversations to develop new thinking on coercion in the context of managing public health challenges. We will explore empirical case studies of coercion in action and develop concepts of coercion and justification within the rubric of applied ethics.

The workshop, and resulting outputs will seek to fill a lacuna in scholarship and generate new recommendations for public health practitioners and policymakers to consider as we confront future pandemics and public health threats.

Topics to be covered in the workshop include:

  • Definitions of Coercion
  • Coercion in Historical and Contemporary Public Health Responses
  • Coercion and Public Health Ethics
  • Experiences of Coercion in Public Health

The Workshop will run from 3 July to 4 July 2024 (9 am to 5 pm). Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Speaker slots are filled, however observers are welcome. If you wish to attend, please register here.

The workshop is part of the project: Coercing for Health: (When) Are Coercive Public Health Policies Ethically Justified?

The event is being organised by Tess Johnson, Safura Abdool Karim and Jon Shaffer. If you would like to get in touch with the event organisers you can contact them using the email addresses below: