Department of Political Science

Luck Egalitarianism, Social Determinants and Public Health Initiatives

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People’s health is hugely affected by where they live, their occupational status and their socio-economic position. It has been widely argued that the presence of such social determinants in health provides good reasons to reject luck egalitarianism as a theory of distributive justice in health. The literature provides different reasons why this responsibility-sensitive theory of distributive justice should not be applied to health. The critiques submit that (i) the social circumstances undermine or remove people’s responsibility for their health; (ii) responsibility sensitive health policies would adversely affect those who are worst off and; (iii) the luck egalitarian approach to health distracts from the important task of rectifying socio-economic influences on people's health and provides individualistic solutions to collective problems. But for each of these variants of the critique luck egalitarianism provides suitable answers. The literature on social determinants is no detriment to the project of applying luck egalitarianism to health.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Health Ethics
Pages (from-to)42-49
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • luck egalitarianism, medical ethics, public health ethics, Wikler, Social determinants, social determinants in health, John Roemer, Cohen, Shlomi Segall, distributive justice, distributive justice in health

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