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The complex structure of health rights

The complex structure of health rights
The complex structure of health rights
Research on how to understand legally recognized socio-economic rights produced many insights into the nature of rights. Legally recognized rights to health and, by extension, health care could contribute to health justice. Yet a tension remains between widespread international and transnational constitutional recognition of rights to health and health care and compelling normative conditions for rights recognition from both philosophers seeking to identify the scope and structure of the rights and policy scholars seeking to understand how to practically realize such rights (and measure realization of same). This work identifies an overlooked source of these difficulties: the right to health care and other health rights are necessarily ‘complex’, consisting of multiple related, but irreducible, morally valuable components. ‘Complex rights’ do not fit the traditional structure of human rights, so legal recognition of same can appear confused from a philosophical perspective, but there is ample reason to admit complex rights into our moral ontology and doing so can help bridge the divide between global health practices and ongoing work in the philosophy of rights and public policy. Recognition of complex rights admittedly shifts the burden for justifying health rights, but it does so in a way that is instructive for general philosophical analysis of socio-economic rights.
Bioethics, Positive Rights, Social Rights, Health Rights, Public Health Ethics
1754-9973
99-110
Da Silva, Michael
05ad649f-8409-4012-8edc-88709b1a3182
Da Silva, Michael
05ad649f-8409-4012-8edc-88709b1a3182

Da Silva, Michael (2020) The complex structure of health rights. Public Health Ethics, 13 (1), 99-110. (doi:10.1093/phe/phaa001).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Research on how to understand legally recognized socio-economic rights produced many insights into the nature of rights. Legally recognized rights to health and, by extension, health care could contribute to health justice. Yet a tension remains between widespread international and transnational constitutional recognition of rights to health and health care and compelling normative conditions for rights recognition from both philosophers seeking to identify the scope and structure of the rights and policy scholars seeking to understand how to practically realize such rights (and measure realization of same). This work identifies an overlooked source of these difficulties: the right to health care and other health rights are necessarily ‘complex’, consisting of multiple related, but irreducible, morally valuable components. ‘Complex rights’ do not fit the traditional structure of human rights, so legal recognition of same can appear confused from a philosophical perspective, but there is ample reason to admit complex rights into our moral ontology and doing so can help bridge the divide between global health practices and ongoing work in the philosophy of rights and public policy. Recognition of complex rights admittedly shifts the burden for justifying health rights, but it does so in a way that is instructive for general philosophical analysis of socio-economic rights.

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More information

Published date: 3 February 2020
Keywords: Bioethics, Positive Rights, Social Rights, Health Rights, Public Health Ethics

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 468653
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/468653
ISSN: 1754-9973
PURE UUID: d537820c-cec3-41fe-9adb-5a4c94d673cd

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Date deposited: 19 Aug 2022 16:43
Last modified: 19 Aug 2022 16:43

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Author: Michael Da Silva

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