Lecture with Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen

Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen: Professor of Politics, Aarhus University & Professor of Philosophy, Tromsø University

Title: Age-based inequalities in health: Do relational and distributive egalitarianism have conflicting implications?

Abstract: In any normal population, health is very unequally distributed across different age groups. Are such age-based health inequalities unjust? Recently, a divide has developed within egalitarian theories of justice between relational egalitarians, whose focus lies on the egalitarian nature of social relations, and luck egalitarians, whose focus lies on distributions of goods such as welfare or resources. Interestingly, it may seem as if the two accounts imply conflicting answers to the opening question. Against this appearance, I argue that some, but not all, forms of luck egalitarianism condemn age-based health inequalities, while some, but not all, forms of relational egalitarianism do not. Accordingly, the case of age-based health inequalities cannot be used as a test case in the disagreement between relational and luck egalitarians. In the course of developing this line of argument, I explore the distinction between whole lives and time-relative relational egalitarianism – a distinction, which so far is largely unexplored in the literature. In closing, I offer two arguments for the view that age-based health inequalities are not unjust (whether undesirable for other reasons or not).

Organized by Ezio Di Nucci at the Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies