Often linked to health and disease, moralization may sometimes lead to good outcomes yet can often be detrimental to individuals and to society as a whole. It is therefore important to be able to identify when moralization is inappropriate.
The paper explores this through three cases that the authors contend have been mismoralized in public health: one historical example (tuberculosis) and two contemporary examples related to COVID-19 (infection and vaccination status).
The authors offer a systematic normative approach to the evaluation of moralization. They introduce and develop the concept of ‘mismoralization’, which is when moralization is metaethically unjustified. In order to identify mismoralization, the paper argues that one must engage in metaethical analysis of moralization processes while paying close attention to the relevant facts.
The authors conclude by proposing a remedy of de-moralization that begins by identifying mismoralization and proceeds by neutralizing inapt moral content.
Kraaijeveld, S.R., Jamrozik, E. Moralization and Mismoralization in Public Health. Med Health Care and Philos (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11019-022-10103-1