Were Lockdowns Justified? A Return to the Facts and Evidence

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 31 (4):405-428 (2021)
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Abstract

Were governments justified in imposing lockdowns to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic? We argue that a convincing answer to this question is to date wanting, by critically analyzing the factual basis of a recent paper, “How Government Leaders Violated Their Epistemic Duties During the SARS-CoV-2 Crisis” (Winsberg et al. 2020). In their paper, Winsberg et al. argue that government leaders did not, at the beginning of the pandemic, meet the epistemic requirements necessitated to impose lockdowns. We focus on Winsberg et al.’s contentions that knowledge about COVID-19 resultant projections were inadequate; that epidemiologists were biased in their estimates of relevant figures; that there was insufficient evidence supporting the efficacy of lockdowns; and that lockdowns cause more harm than good. We argue that none of these claims are sufficiently supported by evidence, thus impairing their case against lockdowns, and leaving open the question of whether lockdowns were justified.

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Author's Profile

Lucie White
Utrecht University

Citations of this work

Fast Science.Jacob Stegenga - forthcoming - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
Lockdowns and the ethics of intergenerational compensation.Kal Kalewold - forthcoming - Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
The Epistemic Duties of Philosophers: An Addendum.Philippe van Basshuysen & Lucie White - 2021 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 31 (4):447-451.

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References found in this work

History of Science and Its Rational Reconstructions.Imre Lakatos - 1970 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1970:91-136.

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