Graduation Year

2017

Date of Submission

4-2017

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Philosophy

Reader 1

Andrew Schroeder

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Rights Information

© 2017 Alice H Bishop

Abstract

Are health inequalities unjust, and if so, how should we measure and evaluate them? This thesis explores the central moral debates that underlie these sorts of questions about health inequalities, and it argues in support of one particular framework for measuring health inequalities. I begin by shedding light on the questions that need to be asked when attempting to determine which types of health inequalities are unjust. After explaining the complexities of several possible views of health inequity, I use these perspectives to inform my discussion of the debate about whether we ought to measure health inequalities in terms of individuals or groups.

I evaluate the key tensions between these two opposing points of view. I then introduce a third possible view, which is Yukiko Asada’s idea that both individual and group-based measures of health inequality leave out important moral information, so it is therefore necessary to include both in order to get a full picture of a population’s health inequality. Next, I respond to objections that the proponents of using either a group or individual measurement of inequality on its own might make to the claim that neither measure is sufficient on its own. Finally, I propose some small changes to Asada’s measurement framework, which I believe will demonstrate why those opposed to her view actually ought to embrace it. I conclude that this approach is a promising solution to some of the difficulties defining health inequities that I have called attention to.

Comments

  • Best Senior Thesis in Philosophy

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