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Understanding Health Inequalities and JusticeBridging Perspectives for New Conversations$
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Mara Buchbinder, Michele Rivkin-Fish, and Rebecca Walker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469630359

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469630359.001.0001

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Health Inequalities and Relational Egalitarianism

Health Inequalities and Relational Egalitarianism

Chapter:
(p.88) 3 Health Inequalities and Relational Egalitarianism
Source:
Understanding Health Inequalities and Justice
Author(s):

J. Paul Kelleher

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469630359.003.0004

Much of the philosophical literature on health inequalities seeks to establish the superiority of one or another conception of luck egalitarianism. In recent years, however, an increasing number of self-avowed egalitarian philosophers have proposed replacing luck egalitarianism with alternatives that stress the moral relevance of distinct relationships, rather than the moral relevance of good or bad luck. After briefly explaining why the author is not attracted to luck egalitarianism, the author distinguishes and clarify three views that have been characterized in the philosophical literature as forms of relational egalitarianism. The author calls these three relational views equality of treatment, equality of concern, and social egalitarianism. The author argues that each deserves the title “egalitarianism” and (more importantly) that these three views are not competitors; rather, each brand of relational egalitarianism describes a plausible plank of distributive justice that bears on the evaluation of health inequalities and on the political institutions that create, sustain, or exacerbate them. To illustrate this pluralistic relational egalitarian approach, the author draws on a case study by Horton and Barker (this volume) to discuss how each of the three planks might be brought to bear on the evaluation of oral health disparities among the children of migrant Latino farmworkers in California.

Keywords:   Distributive justice, Luck egalitarianism, Relational egalitarianism, Health inequalities

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