© 2013

Justice, Luck & Responsibility in Health Care

Philosophical Background and Ethical Implications for End-of-Life Care

  • Yvonne Denier
  • Chris Gastmans
  • Antoon Vandevelde


  • The first volume to provide a comprehensive philosophical framework for understanding the concepts of justice, luck and responsibility in health care

  • Covers important topics in contemporary health care such as euthanasia in persons with dementia, prenatal diagnosis and selective abortion, vaccination, and advance directives

  • Provides an analysis from three categories of academic scholars (philosophers, economists, and theologians)?


Part of the Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy book series (LOET, volume 30)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Yvonne Denier, Chris Gastmans, Antoon Vandevelde
    Pages 1-25
  3. Philosophy of Health and Health Care

  4. Ethics of End-of-Life Care

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 215-229

About this book


In this book, an international group of philosophers, economists and theologians focus on the relationship between justice, luck and responsibility in health care. Together, they offer a thorough reflection on questions such as: How should we understand justice in health care? Why are health care interests so important that they deserve special protection? How should we value health? What are its functions and do these make it different from other goods? Furthermore, how much equality should there be? Which inequalities in health and health care are unfair and which are simply unfortunate? Which matters of health care belong to the domain of justice, and which to the domain of charity? And to what extent should we allow personal responsibility to play a role in allocating health care services and resources, or in distributing the costs?  

With this book, the editors meet a double objective. First, they provide a comprehensive philosophical framework for understanding the concepts of justice, luck and responsibility in contemporary health care; and secondly, they explore whether these concepts have practical force to guide normative discussions in specific contexts of health care such as prevention of infectious diseases or in matters of reproductive technology. Particular and extensive attention is paid to issues regarding end-of-life care.


End-of-Life Care Health Care Ethics Healthcare Issues Luck Egalitarianism Responsibility in Healthcare Theories of Justice

Editors and affiliations

  • Yvonne Denier
    • 1
  • Chris Gastmans
    • 2
  • Antoon Vandevelde
    • 3
  1. 1.LeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.LeuvenBelgium
  3. 3., Ethics, Social & Political PhilosophyCatholic University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

Bibliographic information


From the reviews:

“This collection of essays draws upon philosophical, economic, sociological, and moral traditions to address foundational philosophical concepts and their relevance and application to practical questions in healthcare delivery. … in addition to philosophers and ethicists, this book will be of interest to scholars and professionals who are thinking about and questioning the conceptual underpinnings of healthcare policy, decisions, and prioritizations.” (Rachelle Barina, Doody's Book Reviews, March, 2013)