Rights to Health Care

  • Thomas J. BoleIII
  • William B. Bondeson

Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 38)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. The Rhetoric of Rights and Justice in Health Care

  3. Rights to Health Care: The Development of the Concept

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 21-21
  4. The Right to Health Care: Presentation and Critique

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 51-51
    2. H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr.
      Pages 103-111
  5. A Qualified Right to Health Care: Toward a Notion of a Decent Minimum

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 133-133
    2. George J. Agich
      Pages 185-198
  6. Equality, Free Markets, and the Elderly

  7. Health Care as a Commodity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 257-257
    2. Klaus Hartmann
      Pages 307-325
    3. George P. Khushf
      Pages 355-374
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 375-380

About this book


Human existence is marked by pain, limitation, disability, disease, suffering, and death. These facts of life and of death give ample grounds for characterizing much of the human condition as unfortunate. A core philosophical question is whether the circumstances are in addition unfair or unjust in the sense of justifying claims on the resources, time, and abilities of others. The temptation to use the languages of rights and of justice is und- standable. Faced with pain, disability, and death, it seems natural to complain that "someone should do something", "this is unfair", or "it just isn't fight that people should suffer this way". Yet it is one thing to complain about the unfairness of another's actions, and another thing to complain about the unfairness of biological or physical processes. If no one is to blame for one's illness, disability, or death, in what sense are one's unfortunate circumstances unfair or unjust? How can claims against others for aid and support arise if no one has caused the unfortunate state of affairs? To justify the languages of fights to health care or justice in health care requires showing why particular unfortunate circumstances are also unfair, in the sense of demanding the labors of others. It requires understanding as well the limits of property claims. After all, claims regarding justice in health care or about fights to health care limit the property fights of those whose resources will be used to provide care.


Immanuel Kant care death health public policy

Editors and affiliations

  • Thomas J. BoleIII
    • 1
  • William B. Bondeson
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA
  2. 2.School of MedicineUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

Bibliographic information