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Dr. Nimrod Kovner

Nimrod Kovner

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Post Doctoral Fellow

Nimrod Kovner wrote his doctoral dissertation at the Government Department of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He works in the field of moral and political philosophy, and his dissertation, focused on ethical issues concerning climate change, immigration and their intersection.

Under the pressure of climate change’s hazardous effects, more and more people are expected to move in attempt to escape deprivation and suffering. In his thesis, Nimrod claimed that states with high levels of greenhouse gas emissions carry a special responsibility towards climate migrants, and therefore they have obligations to prevent potential migrants’ displacement or support their forced movement through admission or by funding their resettlement elsewhere.

Nimrod holds a BA in PPE (Philosophy, politics and Economics) and a MA in Political Science, both from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Nimrod researches normative concepts and their application to high-profile public and political issues. Among his research interests are collective responsibility and risk ethics. In his Doctoral work he explored the application of these research fields to climate change and immigration. In his current post-doctoral project, Nimrod moves to the domain of public health and examines vaccination policy in light of recent developments in the ethics of risk. His research discusses the plausibility of mandatory vaccination policy, as a response to the increasing trend of individuals and parents opting-out from governmental mass immunisation programme, by that increasing the risk of an upsurge of preventable diseases. On the one hand, the right to health, which includes an environment safe from diseases, can support state intervention against those refusing to vaccinate. On the other hand, the right of bodily integrity, which conditions medical treatment in patients’ consent, can provide defense to those reluctant to take part in the general vaccination program. In the face of these conflicting human rights, Nimrod examines whether it is possible to defend a mandatory vaccination policy based on the ‘harm principle’. Protecting from harm is the benchmark justification for policy intervention in liberal societies and is not castigated as paternalistic interference. A second step of the research is to test what sort of vaccination policy this argument could permit. The research will analyse different governmental coercive policies designed to increase vaccination uptake (e.g. fines, conditioning school registration on a proof of vaccination, and straightforward compulsion) in order to determine which one, if any, is defensible from an ethical perspective.

Freie Universität Berlin
The Minerva Center for Human Rights
Menschenrechtszentrum Uni Potsdam
DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Einstein Foundation Berlin
Dahlem Research School