Justice is a notoriously complex and elusive philosophical concept, the conditions of which are even more difficult to articulate within real world institutions and contexts than in the abstract. In this course we’ll explore justice as a fundamental moral principle and as a desideratum of the US health care system. The first portion of the course will be devoted to considering general theories of justice as well as alternative conceptions of justice specifically within the health care context. While social justice and distributive justice are deeply intertwined in the health care context and we will discuss both, we will focus primarily on the concept of distributive justice. This theoretically oriented work will provide the background for subsequent examination of specific topics, which may include, among others: justice in health care financing and reform; justice in health care rationing and access to health care, with particular attention to the intersections of rationing criteria with gender, sexuality, race, disability, and age; justice in the procurement and allocation of organs for transplantation; obesity and personal responsibility for illness; and justice in medical research, including “double standards” for research conducted in low resource settings.
Format: tutorial; This class will be conducted remotely, via weekly synchronous tutorial meetings on Zoom or Google Meet.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
biweekly papers, oral commentaries, and tutorial discussions
PHIL majors, PHLH concentrators, those with curricular need for the course, those who have been dropped from the course in previous semesters due to over enrollment, and those who are unlikely to have an opportunity to take the course in a later term
Students will write six tutorial papers of 5-7 pages in length, one of which they will revise and submit at the end of the term. In each of the tutorial papers students will describe and evaluate arguments that appear in the assigned readings, and will develop arguments in support of their own ethical positions. Students will receive written and oral feedback, concentrated particularly in the first half of the semester, to improve their ability to present clear and effective written arguments.