Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/78501
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Type: Journal article
Title: Social inequality in health, responsibility and egalitarian justice
Author: Andersen, M.
Oksbjerg Dalton, S.
Lynch, J.
Johansen, C.
Holtug, N.
Citation: Journal of Public Health (Print Edition), 2013; 35(1):4-8
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Issue Date: 2013
ISSN: 1741-3842
1741-3850
Statement of
Responsibility: 
M. Marchman Andersen, S. Oksbjerg Dalton, J. Lynch, C. Johansen, N. Holtug
Abstract: Are social inequalities in health unjust when brought about by differences in lifestyle? A widespread idea, luck egalitarianism, is that inequality stemming from individuals' free choices is not to be considered unjust, since individuals, presumably, are themselves responsible for such choices. Thus, to the extent that lifestyles are in fact results of free choices, social inequality in health brought about by these choices is not in tension with egalitarian justice. If this is so, then it may put in question the justification of free and equal access to health care and existing medical research priorities. However, personal responsibility is a highly contested issue and in this article we first consider the case for, and second the case against, personal responsibility for health in light of recent developments in philosophical accounts of responsibility and equality. We suggest—but do not fully establish—that at the most fundamental level people are never responsible in such a way that appeals to individuals' own responsibility can justify inequalities in health.
Keywords: individual behavior; public health; socioeconomics factors
Rights: © The Author 2013
RMID: 0020125797
DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdt012
Appears in Collections:Public Health publications

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