Research Thursdays - The research of Justin Bernstein focuses on questions in political philosophy, bioethics and the intersection of the two
Thursday, Mar 11, 2021
The research of Justin Bernstein, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and member of FAU’s Center for the Future Mind, focuses on questions in political philosophy, bioethics and the intersection of the two. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, he has published several articles centered around questions about the ethics of vaccination.
Some of Bernstein’s work focuses on how vaccines should be distributed when demand outstrips supply. To this end, Justin co-authored an ethics framework designed to help the CDC make recommendations about who should be prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Interim Framework for Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution in the United States,” was published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in August 2020
The article considers a few distinct values. For instance, it considers how vaccine allocation can promote the common good by promoting public health and also by enabling social and economic activity. It also discusses the importance of treating individuals fairly and promoting social equity, for example by addressing racial and ethnic disparities in COVID mortality, and by recognizing the contributions of essential workers who have been overlooked in previous allocation schemes. Finally, the framework includes a third ethical value not often well-articulated in ethics discussions of vaccine allocation, the promotion of legitimacy, trust and a sense of community ownership over vaccine policy.
In other co-authored work, Bernstein’s research perspective considers difficult questions about whether the government has the right to require citizens to get vaccinated, or whether this constitutes an illegitimate infringement on individual liberty.
- “Against the Public Goods Conception of Public Health,” Public Health Ethics
- “Public Health Ethics,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- “The Case Against Libertarian Arguments for Compulsory Vaccination,” Journal of Medical Ethics
- “All Children Should Have to Get a Flu Shot,” The New York Times
The third perspective of Bernstein’s research focuses less on government decision-making about vaccines and more on individual obligations that are relevant to vaccination behavior.
- “The Case for ‘Contributory Ethics’: Or How to Think about Individual Morality in a Time of Global Problems,” Ethics, Politics, and Environment
- “Anti-Vaxxers, Anti-Anti-Vaxxers, Fairness, and Anger” (forthcoming in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal)
Bernstein discusses all of this work in a recent episode of the podcast, Back In America
More information on Bernstein’s work can be found here: fau.edu/artsandletters/philosophy/ justin-bernstein/