Public Health Ethics 2 (2):184-194 (2009)

Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre and Centre for Philosophy, Justice and Health, UCL, First Floor, Charles Bell House, 67–73 Riding House Street, London W1W 7EJ, UK. Tel.: +44 (0)20 7679 9417; Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 9426; Email: james-gs.wilson{at} ' + u + '@' + d + ' '//--> . Abstract This paper aims to shed some light on the difficulties we face in constructing a generally acceptable normative framework for thinking about public health. It argues that there are three factors that combine to make theorising about public health difficult, and which when taken together defeat simplistic top-down and bottom-up approaches to the design of public health policies. The first factor is the problem of complex systems, namely that the distribution of health both affects and is affected by the distribution of other goods. The second is the difficulty of defining the goals of public health: we still need to get clear about what we should mean by health in this context, and what the goals of public health should be. The third is that we stand in need of an account of how important health is relative to the importance of other goods that a just society should be trying to secure for its citizens. The paper argues that these problems should lead us to abandon the search for a ‘one-size fits all’ normative framework for thinking about public health. Rather, different approaches will be appropriate at different levels of abstraction. CiteULike Connotea What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/phe/php012
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References found in this work BETA

On the Distinction Between Disease and Illness.Christopher Boorse - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 5 (1):49-68.
Disadvantage.Jonathan Wolff & Avner de-Shalit - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Sovereign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality.R. M. Dworkin - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):377-389.
A Rebuttal on Health.Christopher Boorse - 1997 - In James M. Humber & Robert F. Almeder (eds.), What is Disease? Humana Press. pp. 1--134.
What Do We Want From a Theory of Justice?Amartya Sen - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (5):215-238.

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Citations of this work BETA

Normative and Non-Normative Concepts: Paternalism and Libertarian Paternalism.Kalle Grill - 2013 - In Daniel Strech, Irene Hirschberg & Georg Marckmann (eds.), Ethics in Public Health and Health Policy. Springer. pp. 27-46.
VII-Internal and External Validity in Thought Experiments.James Wilson - 2016 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (2):127-152.
On the Value of the Intellectual Commons.James Wilson - 2012 - In New Frontiers in the Philosophy of Intellectual Property.

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