Theories of Justice - MPH 632

Credits: 3 credits

Course Description

This course builds on Philosophical Bioethics and Health Policy by advancing students’ knowledge of ethical reasoning and by familiarizing students with theories of justice, in particular. This course will introduce students to theoretical and practical complexities, ambiguities, and persistent questions at the intersections of clinical ethics, social policy, and health justice.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Distinguish between philosophical and legal approaches to justice (PO 1, 2)
  • Describe major paradigms of justice theory (such as distributive, retributive, reparative, and structural paradigms) (PO 1, 2, 4, 5, 6)
  • Evaluate selected major theories of justice and their critiques (PO 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 )
  • Characterize the importance and complexities of common concepts in justice theory (such as rights, representation, fairness, equality, desert, prioritization, privilege, vulnerability, oppression, and power) (PO 1, 2, 3, 6)
  • Draw upon arts (such as film) or humanities (such as literature) to represent ideas and expressions about justice and injustice and relate them to healthcare (PO 4)
  • Analyze and synthesize arguments about justice and injustice in healthcare (PO 6, 9, 10)
  • Apply justice theory to analyses of health and healthcare inequalities (PO 1, 2, 9)
  • Draw upon international examples to consider  how different healthcare systems express different conceptions of justice (PO 5)
  • Contrast how different conceptions of justice inform acute-care-driven and population-based approaches to healthcare resource allocation policies and practices (PO 1, 2, 3, 6)