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Sreenivasan, Gopal, , . A Human Right to Health? Some Inconclusive Scepticism
2012, Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):239-265.
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Abstract: This paper offers four arguments against a moral human right to health, two denying that the right exists and two denying that it would be very useful (even if it did exist). One of my sceptical arguments is familiar, while the other is not.The unfamiliar argument is an argument from the nature of health. Given a realistic view of health production, a dilemma arises for the human right to health. Either a state’s moral duty to preserve the health of its citizens is not justifiably aligned in relation to the causes of health or it does not correlate with the human right to health. It follows that no one holds a justified moral human right to health against the state.Education and herd immunity against infectious disease both illustrate this dilemma. In the former case, the state’s moral duty correlates with the human right to health only if it demands too much from a cause of health; and in the latter, only if it demands nothing from a cause of health (that is, too little).

Comment: Useful in teaching on distributive justice in medicine or medical ethics in general. Can also be used as further reading in political and moral philosophy modules on human rights.

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Sreenivasan, Gopal, , . Justice, Inequality, and Health
2009, E. N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy [electronic resource]
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Content: Sreenivasan asks: ‘what makes a health inequality an injustice, when it is one? Do <em>health</em> inequalities have some significance in justice that differs from other important inequalities? Or is the injustice of an unjust inequality in health simply due to the application of general principles of equality and justice to the case of health?’

Comment: This text offers a good introduction to the problem of justice in healthcare and social justice in general. The text is best used as required reading in medical ethics classes, and as further reading in moral and political philosophy classes focusing on justice.

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