Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Philosophy and Public Affairs
© 2012 Jacob Daniel Kass
A great virtue of our fairly liberal society is its willingness to allow, legally and socially, individuals to choose their own lifestyle, free from interference or coercion. For this reason, there is rightly a strong resistance and hostility to government regulation of wholly self-regarding behavior – acts which only affect the actor. Whether justified by an appeal to sovereignty or utility, that which one does to oneself is seen as beyond the jurisdiction of government.
Yet the problem of the so-called obesity "epidemic" – the explosion in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in recent decades – is a case of self-harm which does indeed warrant government intervention.
This thesis considers utilitarian and autonomy-based arguments against interference in self-regarding action, then show why obesity merits intervention nevertheless.
Kass, Jacob Daniel, "Justifying an Ethical Government Response to the Obesity Epidemic" (2012). CMC Senior Theses. 422.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.