Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The conventional perspective that fear is a bad motivator for behavioral change, so critical to public health, is both an empirical observation and a moral judgment. This chapter challenges the belief that fear cannot work and is, indeed, counterproductive. The chapter then turns to the ethical debate, which for years was shaped by bioethics. The chapter concludes by arguing that the perspective of bioethics, so centrally concerned with the individual, provides an inadequate moral frame for thinking about fear-based campaigns. Instead, the chapter proposes the notion of public health ethics, which has as its grounding principle the enhancement of population well-being. Fear-based campaigns may be morally legitimate once the population benefits are clearly articulated and the potential social costs carefully evaluated in a process that is open, transparent, and engages the populations toward whom fear-based campaigns will be directed.

Keywords: fear-based appeals, evidence, public health ethics, bioethics, autonomy, manipulation, warning, stigma

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.