Defining the medical sphere

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 6 (4):416- (1997)
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Part of the debate on cost containment in healthcare systems may be characterized as applied political philosophy One might say that the current debate between competing theories of justice that started with Rawls' A Theory of Justice in 1971 has acquired a small sister debate in healthcare philosophy Major participants in the debate on social justice have become an important source of inspiration for bioethicists interested in a just distribution of healthcare resources. Thus Rawls' A Theory of Justice has been remodeled for healthcare philosophy by Norman Daniels. Nozick's libertarian manifesto Anarchy, State, and Utopia has been used for bioethical purposes by H.T. Engelhardt. The books of Daniel Callahan evidently belong to a family of communitarian theories, though Callahan cannot be said to follow one or another communitarian thinker in particular. In the next two sections of this article I will give a very brief sketch of the debate on social justice in political philosophy and then discuss the sister debate on social justice in healthcare



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