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Access_open Living with Others in Pandemics

The State’s Duty to Protect, Individual Responsibility and Solidarity

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, The state’s duty to protect, Duty to rescue, Responsibility, Solidarity
Authors Konstantinos A Papageorgiou
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article discusses a range of important normative questions raised by anti-COVID-19 measures and policies. Do governments have the right to impose such severe restrictions on individual freedom and furthermore do citizens have obligations vis-à-vis the state, others and themselves to accept such restrictions? I will argue that a democratic state may legitimately enforce publicly discussed, properly enacted and constitutionally tested laws and policies in order to protect its citizens from risks to life and limb. Even so, there is a natural limit, factual and normative, to what the state or a government can do in this respect. Citizens will also need to take it upon themselves not to harm and to protect others and in the context of a pandemic this means that endorsement of restrictions or other mandatory measures, notably vaccination, is not to be seen as a matter of personal preference concerning the supposedly inviolable sovereignty of one’s own body.


Konstantinos A Papageorgiou
Konstantinos A Papageorgiou is Professor of the Philosophy of Law at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Law.
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