Department of Political Science

Personal Responsibility in Oral Health: Ethical Considerations

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Personal responsibility is a powerful idea supported by many values central to West European thought. On the conceptual level personal responsibility is a complex notion. It is important to separate the concept of being responsible for a given state of affairs from the concept of holding people responsible by introducing measures that decrease their share of available resources. Introducing personal responsibility in oral health also has limitations of a more practical nature. Knowledge, social status and other diseases affect the degree to which people can be said to be responsible for their poor oral health. These factors affect people’s oral health and their ability to take care of it. Both the conceptual and practical issues at stake are not reasons to abandon the idea of personal responsibility in oral health, but they do affect what the notion means and when it is reasonable to hold people responsible. They also commit people who support the idea of personal responsibility in oral health to supporting the idea of societal responsibility for mitigating the effects of factors that diminish people’s responsibility and increase the available information and knowledge in the population.
Translated title of the contributionPersonligt ansvar og tandsundhed: Etiske overvejelser
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Forensic Odonto-Stomatology (Online)
IssueSuppl. 1
Pages (from-to)12-20
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

Bibliographical note

The article is based on work presented in
august 2012 at the 9th International
Congress on Dental Law and Ethics
arranged by IDEALS in Leuven. I am
grateful for the encouraging and kind
comments I received on that occasion.

    Research areas

  • personal responsibility, lifestyle diseases, distributive justice, Oral Health, inequality, equality, luck egalitarianism

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