Fairness and Freedom in Public Health Policy - Multidisciplinary Conference

Restrictive public health policies limit individual freedoms in the pursuit of collective health goods. According to a widely endorsed principle of “least restrictive alternative”, only the lowest level of restrictiveness necessary to achieve a public health goal is justified. However, the same restrictions affect different people differently, and the same good benefits different people differently. Arguably, what matters is not only how restrictive a policy is, but also whose freedom is restricted and why.

Across times and places, restrictive policies have often pursued collective goods at the cost of unfairly distributing restrictions. While the problem is not new, it has been brought to the fore during the recent pandemic and will likely emerge as a key challenge in future public health policies. The conference will analyse from a multidisciplinary, Humanities-focused perspective the issue of fairness in the distribution of freedom restrictions in public health policy, bringing together experts from Philosophy, History, Public Policy, Politics, Anthropology, and the Social Sciences.