Paternalism, Perfectionism and Healthy Eating Policy

By: Matteo Bonotti   Anne Barnhill  

The political philosophy and bioethics literature on healthy eating policy is dominated by the debate between paternalists (i.e. those who would like to limit individuals’ liberty in order to promote their well-being) and anti-paternalists (i.e. those who criticize "nanny state" policies and would like to protect individuals’ liberty). We argue that this debate neglects the role that perfectionism (i.e. privileging certain conceptions of the good life over others) and neutrality (i.e. the view that the state should remain neutral between different conceptions of the good life) covertly play in the arguments for and against healthy eating policy. In this talk, we forefront perfectionism and neutrality. We identify forms of diversity relevant to healthy eating policy, including different conceptions of health, different ways of valuing health, and diverse food practices rooted in religious, cultural and ethical diversity. We consider how, in light of this diversity, healthy eating policy can satisfy the demands of neutrality.

"Healthy Eating Policy", " Diversity", " Neutrality"
Food, Nutrition, and Health
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Matteo Bonotti

Lecturer , Department of Politics and International Relations, Monash University, Australia
-, Australia

Matteo Bonotti is a Lecturer in Political Theory at Cardiff University. He will be joining Monash University as a Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations in December 2017. Dr Bonotti is a political theorist with expertise on political liberalism, religion and political theory, multiculturalism, and the political theory of food policies. His work has appeared in such journals as the American Political Science Review, the European Journal of Political Theory, Philosophy & Social Criticism, the Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, the Journal of Social Philosophy, and Res Publica. He is the author of the monograph Partisanship and Political Liberalism in Diverse Societies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), and has published several papers on the ethics of food policy.

Dr. Anne Barnhill

-, Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University, United States
Maryland, United States

Anne Barnhill, PhD, is a Research Scholar at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University, and part of Johns Hopkins’ Global Food Ethics and Policy Program. Dr Barnhill is a philosopher and bioethicist. She has published widely on the ethics of food policy and public health, with a special focus on the ethics of governments’ efforts to promote healthy eating. She is the co-author of Food, Ethics, and Society: An Introductory Text with Readings (Oxford University Press, 2016) and a co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Food Ethics (Oxford University Press, in press). Dr. Barnhill studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology as an undergraduate at Princeton University. She received her PhD. in philosophy from New York University in 2009. Before coming to Johns Hopkins, she was a Faculty Fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, a Greenwall Fellow in Bioethics and Health Policy at Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown University, and an Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.