Doctoral Defence: Jay Allen Zameska “The ethics of public health: balancing the interests of populations and individuals”

On 29 June at 14:15 Jay Allen Zameska will defend his doctoral thesis “The ethics of public health: balancing the interests of populations and individuals” for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (in Philosophy).

Associate Professor Kadri Simm, University of Tartu

Professor Stephen Michael Holland, University of York (United Kingdom)
Professor Marcel F. Verweij, Utrecht University (Netherlands)

Public health ethics is a complex field that requires careful consideration of both individual and population-level interests. This thesis addresses this challenge by highlighting the importance of individual perspectives and interests in justifying public health activities. By exploring the tension between individual justification and public health interventions, the thesis addresses some of the central questions in this area of study. Ultimately, the aim is to demonstrate that taking individual perspectives into account is not only compatible with, but also essential to a strong and successful public health agenda. 

This thesis is composed of three articles. “An Uncertainty Argument for the Identified Victim Bias” explores whether there is a moral justification for prioritizing identified over statistical lives, arguing that in some cases of uncertainty, ex ante contractualism provides one such justification, and examines the implications for the funding of AIDS treatment versus HIV prevention. "‘Take the Pill, It Is Only Fair’! Contributory Fairness as an Answer to Rose’s Prevention Paradox." examines how population strategies in public health can be justified using the case of the "polypill," arguing that implementing such strategies contributes to a key public good, and as such, carries an obligation of fairness to participate and distribute costs equally. “The Sufficientarian Alternative: A Commentary on Setting Health-Care Priorities” argues that sufficientarianism provides a compelling and unique method for establishing health care priorities, and proposes a revised form of sufficientarianism that outperforms other prominent views in population ethics and health care priority setting.

In all, the thesis recognizes the moral significance of both individuals and populations and aims to show that understanding their interplay is crucial to developing an effective approach to public health ethics.

Defence can be also followed in Zoom (Meeting ID: 976 9728 8749, Passcode: 072041).