On the Anatomy of Health-related Actions for Which People Could Reasonably be Held Responsible: A Framework

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 48 (4):384-399 (2023)
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Should we let personal responsibility for health-related behavior influence the allocation of healthcare resources? In this paper, we clarify what it means to be responsible for an action. We rely on a crucial conceptual distinction between being responsible and holding someone responsible, and show that even though we might be considered responsible and blameworthy for our health-related actions, there could still be well-justified reasons for not considering it reasonable to hold us responsible by giving us lower priority. We transform these philosophical considerations into analytical use first by assessing the general features of health-related actions and the corresponding healthcare needs. Then, we identify clusters of structural features that even adversely affected people cannot reasonably deny constitute actions for which they should be held responsible. We summarize the results in an analytical framework that can be used by decision-makers when considering personal responsibility for health as a criterion for setting priorities.



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Andreas Albertsen
Aarhus University

Citations of this work

Bioethics: Shaping Medical Practice and Taking Diversity Seriously.Mark J. Cherry - 2023 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 48 (4):313-321.

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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
What is the point of equality.Elizabeth Anderson - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):287-337.
Two Faces of Responsibility.Gary Watson - 1996 - Philosophical Topics 24 (2):227-248.

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