1st Edition

The Ethics of Pandemics An Introduction

By Iwao Hirose Copyright 2023
    152 Pages
    by Routledge

    152 Pages
    by Routledge

    The recent COVID-19 pandemic has brought a broad range of ethical problems to the forefront, raising fundamental questions about the role of government in response to such outbreaks, the scarcity and allocation of health care resources, the unequal distribution of health risks and economic impacts, and the extent to which individual freedom can be restricted.

    In this clear introduction to the topic Iwao Hirose explores these ethical questions and analyzes the central issues in the ethics of pandemic response and preparedness such as:

    • The general nature of pandemics and the ethics of preparedness
    • Ethical questions about general goals of pandemic response and preparedness
    • The distribution of scarce resources, for example, ventilators, hospital beds, antiviral drugs, and vaccines
    • Restrictions on individual freedom
    • Ethical questions in the wake of pandemics, including contact tracing, vaccine passports, and socioeconomic inequalities.

    With the use of real-life examples and a clear philosophical approach, The Ethics of Pandemics is a much-needed introduction to some of the most important ethical issues surrounding pandemics. It is essential reading for students of ethics, bioethics, and political philosophy and will also be of interest to those working in related areas such as public policy, public health, health law, nursing, and life sciences.

    1. Introduction: Why Ethics of Pandemics?

    2. The General Principle of Pandemic Response

    3. Rationing of Scarce Health Care Resources

    4. Pandemics in an Unequal World

    5. Restricting Freedom

    6. Inducing Voluntary Behavioral Change

    7. Moral Mathematics under Uncertainty.





    Iwao Hirose is Professor of Philosophy and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Value Theory and the Philosophy of Public Policy at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In 2006, he served on the WHO working group on ethical guidelines for pandemic influenza preparedness in Geneva. He is the author of Egalitarianism (Routledge 2015; second edition forthcoming), and with Greg Bognar co-author of The Ethics of Health Care Rationing: An Introduction (Routledge 2014; second edition 2022).

    'The Ethics of Pandemics is an excellent and accessible introduction to a very complex topic.' - Sara Van Goozen, University of York, UK