Featured publication: Responsibility and Healthcare

Edited by Ben Davies, Gabriel De Marco, Neil Levy and Julian Savulescu. 

This edited collection brings together world-leading authors writing about a wide range of issues related to responsibility and healthcare, and from a variety of perspectives. Alongside a comprehensive introduction by the editors outlining the scope of the relevant debates, the volume contains 14 chapters, split into four sections. This volume pushes forward a number of important debates on responsibility and its role in contemporary healthcare.

The first and second groups of chapters focus, respectively, on (a) the potential justification and (b) nature of 'responsibility-sensitive' policies in healthcare provision; in other words, policies that would hold some patients responsible for their ill health via differences in treatment. These sections include empirically-informed work on public opinion, chapters linking responsibility in healthcare with ongoing debates around criminal responsibility, and new conceptual and theoretical work on the details of responsibility-sensitive policies.

The third set of chapters turns in a more detailed way to the issues of whether, and how, we can be responsible for our health, presenting novel challenges and questions for those who would advocate responsibility-sensitive policies in healthcare.

Finally, questions of responsibility in medicine do not end with those receiving treatment. The fourth group of chapters broadens the volume's focus to think about responsibility of individuals other than patients, including medical professionals and policymakers, including specific consideration of the role of responsibility during pandemics.

In this timely and vital collection, Dominic Wilkinson and Julian Savulescu bring together a global team of leading philosophers, lawyers, economists, and bioethicists. The book reviews the COVID-19 pandemic to ask not only 'did our societies make the right ethical choices?', but also 'what lessons must we learn before Disease X arrives?'

This is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence. It is free to read at Oxford Scholarship Online and offered as a free PDF download from OUP and selected open access locations. [Link to follow post-publication].

To be published by Oxford University Press, 7 May 2024 (ETA)

OUP webpage

Uehiro Series in Practical Ethics

For details of all the books based on our Annual Lectures, visit the Uehiro Series in Practical Ethics Books page.  The latest book in the Series is Professor Michael Otsuka's 'How to Pool Risks Across Generations: The Case for Collective Pensions'. Details below.

How to Pool Risks Across Generations: The Case for Collective Pensions

by Professor Michael Otsuka, 2020 Uehiro Lecturer

book cover how to pool risks across generations photograph of lake and mountains

Oxford University Press

How to Pool Risks across Generations makes the case for the collective provision of pensions, on fair terms of social cooperation. Through the insurance of a mutual association which extends across society and over multiple generations, we share one another's fates by pooling risks across both space and time. Resources are transferred, not simply between different people, but also within the possible future lives of each person: from one's more fortunate to one's less fortunate future selves. The book opens with an investigation of the longevity and investment risk that even a single individual on a desert island would face in providing for her old age. From this atomistic starting point, it builds up, within and across the chapters, to increasingly collective forms of pension provision. By joining together, it is possible to tame the risks we would face as individuals each with our own private pension pot. A collective pension can be justified as a 'social union of social unions': an enduring corporate body, which is formed by agreements to pool risks, in a manner that involves reciprocity between the various individuals that constitute the collective. Even though all individuals age and die, a collective pension scheme remains evergreen, as the average age of members remains relatively unchanged, through the influx of new members to replace those who retire. It is therefore possible to smooth risks indefinitely across as well as within generations, to the mutual advantage of each.

Published: 27 June 2023, Oxford University Press