Graduation Year

Spring 2011

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy and Public Affairs

Reader 1

Paul Hurley

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Rights Information

© 2011 Jacob Tobis


In this thesis, many topics will be discussed and a variety of philosophers will be mentioned. The main goal of this thesis is to determine a health care plan that fits with the theories of Robert Nozick, Arthur Ripstein, Norman Daniels, and Amartya Sen. I conclude that Ezekiel Emanuel’s health care plan, The Guaranteed Healthcare Access Plan, can be used as a compromise between the views of each of these philosophers. In reaching such a conclusion, I take many steps. I begin with the explanation of theories of justice and their focus. I then turn to the important distinction between rights and ethics. Next, I explain that often closely held values come into conflict with one another. Then, I turn to the specific philosophers and their theories. Beginning with Nozick, I explain the justification for a state and how this justification is important for all four of the philosophers. Afterwards, in turn, I lay out what each philosopher claims in regards to a just society and the role of a state, his justification for such claims, and the results of such claims specifically in regards to health care. Subsequently, I examine the connections between philosophers, which help me understand the ways a health care system could be instituted to appeal to all four of them. After questioning if a just society can really exist in a limited world, I decide what type of health care system such a just society should implement. Finally, I rest on Ezekiel Emanuel’s plan, which I believe should be implemented in a just society and which best demonstrates the common ground between the four philosophers I discuss.