How Government Leaders Violated Their Epistemic Duties During the SARS-CoV-2 Crisis

Kennedy Institute Journal of Ethics

38 Pages Posted: 20 May 2020

See all articles by Jason Brennan

Jason Brennan

Georgetown University - Department of Strategy/Economics/Ethics/Public Policy

Chris Surprenant

University of New Orleans

Eric Winsberg

University of South Florida - Department of Philosophy

Date Written: May 20, 2020

Abstract

In spring 2020, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, world leaders imposed severe restrictions on citizens’ civil, political, and economic liberties. These restrictions went beyond less controversial and less demanding social distancing measures seen in past epidemics. Many states and countries imposed universal lockdowns. In this paper, we argue that these restrictions have not been accompanied by the epistemic practices morally required for their adoption or continuation. While in theory, lockdowns can be justified, governments did not meet and have not yet met their justificatory burdens.

Keywords: COVID-19 government legitimacy

JEL Classification: I18

Suggested Citation

Brennan, Jason and Surprenant, Chris and Winsberg, Eric, How Government Leaders Violated Their Epistemic Duties During the SARS-CoV-2 Crisis (May 20, 2020). Kennedy Institute Journal of Ethics, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3605981

Jason Brennan

Georgetown University - Department of Strategy/Economics/Ethics/Public Policy

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Chris Surprenant (Contact Author)

University of New Orleans ( email )

2000 Lakeshore Drive
New Orleans, LA 70148
United States

Eric Winsberg

University of South Florida - Department of Philosophy ( email )

FAO 226
University of South Florida
Tampa, FL 33620
United States

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