Bioethics 32 (9):569-576 (2018)

Authors
Simon Derpmann
University of Münster
Abstract
Solidarity is commonly invoked in the justification of public health care. This is understandable, as calls for and appeals to solidarity are effective in the mobilization of unison action and the willing- ness to incur sacrifices for others. However, the reference to solidarity as a moral notion requires caution, as there is no agreement on the meaning of solidarity. The article argues that the refer- ence to solidarity as a normative notion is relevant to health-related moral claims, but that it does not provide a convincing foundation of claims to universal health care. References to universal soli- darity obliterate an important distinction between those moral demands that are founded on principles like justice, recognition, or humanity, and those demands that stem from partisan rela- tions in communities. While there is no ‘separate essence’ of solidarity that could be referred to in order to argue for the conceptual necessity of solidarity’s partiality, some features may reasonably be stipulated as being essential to solidarity with a view to its systematic function within moral phi- losophy. The normative and motivational force of the ties invoked by solidarity is particularly relevant when basic moral demands are not met, and societies are in need of significant forms of communal relatedness.
Keywords health care  justice  partiality  solidarity  universality  welfare state
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DOI 10.1111/bioe.12444
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