The Netherlands National Prevention Agreement and the Euthyphro Dilemma

Today I published a piece on societal responsibility for prevention on the Dutch political science blog Stuk Rood Vlees. Last year 70 societal partners signed an agreement about ambitions and preventive actions aiming at reduction of overweight, smoking and alcohol abuse. Partners included food industry, retailers, local and national government, public health professionals, schools, sports clubs, etc. The ambitions are quite high: in 2040 no adolescents will smoke; the prevalence of overweight of persons above 20 years will have declined from 50% to 38%; and not more than 5% of adults drinks too much alcohol. Measures include - among many others - smoke-free schoolyards, a ban on in-school sale of sugared drinks; constraints on child marketing and healthier food offers in company restaurants, attraction parks; and extensive tax increases on tobacco. 

One of the topics I discuss is a variety of the Euthyphro dilemma. Does the agreement create obligations for the parties involved and are those parties bound to their responsibility due to the societal agreement, or do those parties have a societal responsibility for public health anyway, and should we see the agreement as one result of that responsibility. I argue for the latter horn of the dilemma. 

But I also wondered whether the Euthyphro dilemma plays a role in, or has been referred to in other ethical debates - or theory development - concerning societal contracts. If you have suggestions, please let me know!


*) The text will later on also appear in a special issue "Podium voor Bio-ethiek" on the Prevention Agreement (published by The Netherlands Bioethics Association NVBe).

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