The aim of this paper is to attempt to articulate, defend, and apply coercion as a mid-level principle in public health. This assumes that coercion can be right or good, which may help us articulate and justify the inherent coercive powers of public health.
Coercion as a mid-level principle denotes a commissive or omissive act by P toward Q to bring about an intended end, x, such that P reduces Q’s range of plausible and reasonable choices beyond x, and by extension, reduces the extent to which we hold Q responsible for x should x actualize. Crucially, the use of coercion means that there exists a choice or set of choices y that Q could make at some cost or penalty that would not exist but for the presence of the coercion itself.
Whether or not a coercive act is justified will rest on:
The treatment of tuberculosis provides cases which will allow us to test the plausibility of using coercion as a mid-level principle (e.g., directly observed therapy, involuntary isolation, etc.).