Health as wellbeing and health as asset: Why the distinction matters
Professor Thomas Schramme, University of Liverpool
Wednesday, 15 January 2020, 11am to 12.30pm
Ethox and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities are based at the Big Data Institute, University of Oxford, Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery, Old Road Campus, Oxford OX3 7FZ. The talk will be held in seminar room 0.
Health is both an intrinsic and an instrumental good for human beings: Health is good for us because we are well when we are healthy. Health is also a means to achieve other goals, such as education, jobs or, more generally, a long life. Accordingly, health can be seen both as an element of individual wellbeing and as an individual asset. People who tend to be healthy have an advantage over those who are prone to illness. Research in social epidemiology regarding so-called social determinants of health has established how far-reaching the advantages can be. It has also been shown that health impacts can be seen in almost any area of people’s lives. For instance, the level of education, quality of housing or whether people have access to meaningful work can determine, albeit indirectly, the level of individual health. The traditional discussion on health care justice has accordingly been widened to include aspects that are not restricted to medical resources. In other words, justice in health care has been broadened to issues in health justice more generally. In my paper I will aim at clarifying the difference between the two conceptions of health. I will also attempt to tease out relevant normative differences between these two perspectives on health.