Healthy Eating Policy and Political Philosophy: A Public Reason Approach

Anne Barnhill, Matteo Bonotti

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Who gets to decide what it means to live a healthy lifestyle, and how important a healthy lifestyle is to a good life? As more governments make preventing obesity and diet-related illness a priority, it's become more important to consider the ethics and acceptability of their efforts. When it comes to laws and policies that promote healthy eating--such as special taxes on sugary drinks and the banning of food deemed unhealthy--critics argue that these policies are paternalistic, and that they limit individual autonomy over food choices. In Healthy Eating Policy and Political Philosophy: A Public Reason Approach, Anne Barnhill and Matteo Bonotti show that both paternalistic justifications for healthy eating efforts and anti-paternalistic arguments against them can be grounded in perfectionist views that overly prioritize some values over others. The authors therefore propose a more inclusive, public reason approach to healthy eating policy that will be appealing to those who take pluralism and cultural diversity seriously, by providing a framework through which different kinds of values, including but not limited to autonomy and health, can be factored into the public justification for healthy eating efforts. Additionally, the book adopts a 'farm to fork' approach to the ethics of healthy eating efforts: it engages with theories and debates in political philosophy, considers the implications of different theoretical positions for healthy eating efforts, and then develops a concrete tool for assessing policies that will be of interest to both scholars and policymakers. As well as offering a novel normative analysis of healthy eating policy, the authors offer a new theoretical framework that will be applicable to a wide range of public policy scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherOxford University Press, USA
Number of pages251
ISBN (Print)9780190937881
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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