Freedom and viruses

Kieran Oberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A common argument against lockdowns is that they restrict freedom. On this view, lockdowns might be effective in protecting public health, but their impact on freedom is purely negative. This article challenges that view. It argues that while lockdowns restrict freedom, so too do viruses. Since viruses restrict freedom and lockdowns protect us from viruses, lockdowns can protect us from the harmful effects that viruses have on freedom. The problem we face is not necessarily freedom versus public health. Sometimes it is freedom itself—or its value or distribution—that provides reason for lockdowns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-850
Number of pages34
JournalEthics: An International Journal of Social, Political, and Legal Philosophy
Issue number4
Early online date16 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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