Health care as a testing ground for theories of distributive justice

By David Hunter

Political philosophy has historically been a surprisingly unreal subject and distributive justice as a sub-field has fared no better, indeed some of the primary discussions have focused on the distribution of plover eggs and claret and taken place on desert islands. There is some sense to this, abstracting away from society and normal circumstances can be an excellent method of testing the implications of principles. However there are also some dangers of this, to be frank who is that fussed by the distribution of claret and plover eggs? Given this health care distribution makes an excellent crucible for testing political theories of distributive justice. In this arena questions of distribution matter crucially for people, they are literally life or death.

So I’d like to lay down the gauntlet for my fellow political philosophers… “so you think you’ve got a good theory of distributive justice? How does it do in this context?”

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