17 thoughts on “Dr. Robert MacDougall: Health and Social Justice

  1. Today’s guest lecture was a very interesting class. I do love philosophy and the moral implications to what is considered justice. Unfortunately, inequalities in this world is a very common occurrence. Ideally it is something that should be rectified.

    Out of the two views of justice, I much prefer the second view. But I am torn between which division of the second view do I agree with. I’ve always believed that people are responsible for their own actions and choices. Ignorance, like we’ve said, is not a valid excuse. However, I also believe that people are the result of their upbringing and environment. So is it fair that some people met all the right people in their lives and had all the resources they needed to live a comfortable life while others did not? Who do we blame for the disparity? The parents? The government? God? And if there is no one to blame then who is responsible for the remedy?

    When it comes to health though, my view is pretty simple. Instead of looking at people, their actions, their choices, or their background, simply treat the illness. Health justice to me is that everyone deserves what they need to be healthy. So if one person is more sick than another, then that person should receive more care. It only makes sense.

    • Jenny- I like how you explain how you arrived at the conclusion: simply treat the illness. I also value the second view of health justice. I also enjoy thinking about the first description of justice when it comes to racial health disparities. The idea of force and fraud is important when considering race, because it is something that we don’t choice and racial categories are forced. TRULY a great response!

  2. I do not agree with the views on justice and health. It states, “To each person an equal share of health, unless inequalities result from a person’s own choices”. I believe that everyone deserves health care. It was discussed that if a person smokes and gets lung cancer then it is there fault. It would be considered “just” that this person did not get an equal share of health as another person who did not smoke. We have discussed in class before that smoking does not cause cancer but it can contribute to you getting it. That being said, a person who smokes and gets lung cancer should not be entirely to blame. Just because they made a bad choice does not mean that their life and health should be disregarded. Everyone should have an equal share of health regardless of what decisions they make with their life.

    • Dominique-
      You raise a VERY interesting point– how can we judge what is just when it comes to behaviors/choices, because scientifically we only can understand these matters as being related NOT being causal?! You’ve certainly made me think more deeply about this. Kudos!

  3. I really enjoyed today’s lecture because it made all us (me especially) revisit the word “justice” and what justice means and how tricky justice can get. I also liked the meaning of justice in context with health. In addition, the two divisions of justice really had me thinking hard about choices made in the past and the future choices I plan on doing. When it comes to health overall, I feel all the developed countries should help out the smaller underdeveloped countries in supporting them with basic health needs. Helping to save other human beings lives through positive health practices should be more and more focused on. Unfortunately, that is one of many large scale issues we all (no matter what the country) have to deal with.

    • You show very clearly your ability to think about health care justice on a global scale– and this is no easy task. I am also pleased to hear that the discussion got you thinking more about your own personal behavioral choices. Great response.

  4. The lecture was pretty interesting. I never thought the word “justice” could be used to relate to health. between the two views, i think the 2nd options makes a lot more sense.

    Whenever health is mentioned, I think that there are some things which are mainly depended on a person’s action. The example given in class where two of same people that has allergies and one chooses to buy Bluetooth headphones instead getting medicine. So basically, the person who bought the Bluetooth headphones chose want over need so they deserve to suffer. I believe it’s something that you’re responsible for. You can’t blame anyone for being sick.

  5. The lecture in class was actually pretty eye opening. Personally, I think everyone should have access to quality health care, regardless of a person’s choices. I believe that everyone having access to health care would not actually cause people to be more reckless because of the “security blanket” of having access to it. I instead think people would be more careful because they would be more educated about their own health, therefore making healthier options. Also, another product would be obviously be less sick people, meaning less spread of germs and diseases.

    Also, learning the impact that the different definitions of “justice,” their relationship with inequality, and how they affect health was definitely quite the learning experience. The social and ethical implications of health and its effect on society is really interesting.

  6. The guest lecture in class was very informative and eye opening as well. Especially considering the statement “To each person an equal share of health, unless inequalities result from a person’s own choice.” In my opinion no one should be denied health even if that person’s choices are a direct result of that inequality. To me, it might seem like you were judging the person more than looking at the reason’s that drove that person to engage in an activity that might be harmful to that person’s health. Speaking from experience, people who may not have the best of health, are maybe not fully aware of the factors that may contribute to the health problems. Denying these people simply because their inequalities result from their own choices may not be the best choice because every person is different and the whole story is not known simply because we know a small portion of it.

  7. Justice is something that is so personal, determining if a situation is just or not is something that is concluded by your definition and belief. What I find to be just another person might not, because my belief and moral compass is different from that of others. Determining if something is justice in regards to health by following two principles is almost impossible to me. How could you measure each situation with the same ruler, when each situation is so different? There are so many factors that we don’t see, each situation can’t be mold into the same shape only because they are all made of clay. Sometimes people are going through personal issues that resulted in them making really hard decisions that aren’t always the best. You can’t always look at the end result but instead focus on the environment and road that lead to them in getting there.

  8. “Justice” is defined as just behavior or treatment. In my opinion, “Justice” differ from person to person as it is defined by your own moral standard. The situation I find justice might not be justice to another person. So, it is a very hard to judge justice. I believe that using justice to judge “Health Care” is flaw because is a case sensitive issue. So, we should gave everyone equal health care because it is the basic right of human being and it can led to work productivity. If the worker are less sick, the worker can work longer and would take less sick day and such.

  9. The lecture was certainly interesting. The difference between equality and justice was shown clearly. While equality was good at giving everyone the same thing, justice was better at giving the people who need something what they need. However what I feel should have been a bigger part is the morality of giving everyone the same thing versus dishing out justice; as well as the concept that with justice there will be some group who feels it was just the opposite, an injustice. Its interesting to see how one group, large or small, can receive justice (ie: a court case ruling, or law passing) and another group feels that it was an injustice to them (such as legalizing gay marriage).

  10. I thought the lecture raised some very interesting points when it comes to what is just, especially the two views on justice and health. If a doctor believes “to each person equal share of health unless inequalities result from a person’s own choices” then that doctor can refuse to help someone based on that person’s life choices. That can lead to some grey areas, however. For example can a doctor refuse to help someone because of that person’s sexual orientation and the risks that the doctor believes are associated with it? What if a person smoked for years but made the decision to quit and turn his/her life around and be healthy, but years later they develop lung cancer? Should a doctor be allowed to deny them the help they need because of a bad decision they made years ago, even though they attempted to make positive changes in their life? These topics on justice and equality lead to very interesting and import questions that are important to ask.

  11. The guest lecture on health and justice was very interesting. Two views of justice were presented along with situations to apply them to. The first view was very straight forward but the second one requires more thoughts put into it. The second view states that “To each person equal share of health…
    unless inequalities is a result of a person’s choice.”
    even if inequalities is a result of a person’s choice.”
    For this view on justice, I am conflicted between the two division. I believe everyone should have equal healthcare; however, I also believe an individual should be responsible for their choices. If an individual don’t take responsibility, then how will he/she learn from their bad choices? I believe everyone should be given equal share of health; however, those who practice good behavioral choices should get higher priority in certain situations because it is not fair that their priority is the same as someone who doesn’t take better care of him/herself. These individuals who don’t take better care of themselves end up with a doctor visit more often. This takes doctors time away from those who do take better care of themselves. The question now is how do you determine if an individual is engaging in bad health choices in order to determine priority? Every individual has different circumstance to which the doctor will not know about, however, certain bad health choices such as substance abuse, and alcohol abuse can easily be determine through testing. An example of a certain situation is an organ transplant. If there are two individuals on top of the list about the same time, it makes more sense to give an organ to an individual who will treat the organ well compare to someone who purposely destroyed their last one from their bad decisions. This person can wait for the next assuming a situation didn’t arise where another person is in critical state.

  12. For the guest lecture on health and social justice, I have a more liking to the second view of health justice; To each person an equal share of health. I believe everyone is deserving of healthcare however, they should be held accountable for the choices they make. Should s/he gets lung cancer from smoking, then s/he is responsible to taking care of their health afterwards. Whether s/he choose to receive healthcare for lung cancer or leave it alone is her/his responsibility and the consequence that follows. For the first view; To each person whatever health is acquired without using force or fraud, I don’t approve of using force or fraud, however to some people it may be a necessity to obtain the healthcare they need. Although I know people seek healthcare, force or fraud isn’t a path to turn to get health care.

  13. This lecture was very interesting it made me take a second look at what our society as well as myself views as justified and unjustified. There are so many loopholes and descriptions you have to really take a deeper look into everything. Then also to determine justice you have to have sufficient evidence for example The Whitehall Study, the death toll was higher in the workers that made less money but there could be a million reasons why. Also the rule that people are entitled to health without using force o fraud, there are plenty of pharmaceutical companies frauding and kind of forcing their patents to take medicines due to them not enforcing the impact of side effects, in the commercials they are said very quickly at the end of the commercial, and on the medicine bottles or the printout from the pharmacy the side effects are in fine print or the doctor may say “this medication could kill you, but there’s a small risk and it will make you feel better”

  14. the lecture was interesting because it correlates our life expectancy with the type of job that we are doing today. in fact, we could use this information when it comes to selecting a job environment. for example if we choose a job where people smoke and if you are a non-smoker, then this could lead to dramatic consequences in your health. with respect to the two points of view, my opinion is that everyone should have a right to health care, regarless of the choices they make. for example we may never know someone’s psychological reasons. a person could be suffering an illness and they could resort to smoking. similarly, a person might have had a trauma and smoking could be the only way out. So should a doctor deny them treatment? i think no because it is ethical to treat everyone the same. in the end, if we look at the reasons behind someone’s illness both the smoker and non-smoker in my opinion are patients. the only thing that differentiates both is our own choices.

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