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Setting Health-Care PrioritiesWhat Ethical Theories Tell Us$
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Torbjörn Tännsjö

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190946883

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190946883.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Setting Health-Care Priorities

Torbjörn Tännsjö

Oxford University Press

Three theories of distributive justice are introduced: the maximin/leximin theory, egalitarianism, and utilitarianism (with or without a prioritarian amendment). A methodology for assessing their plausibility is adumbrated: applied ethics turned upside down. This means arranging with crucial thought experiments where we reach conflicting verdicts from the theories. We confront the verdicts with the content of our considered intuitions. Roughly speaking, an intuition is taken to be ‘considered’ if it has survived cognitive psychotherapy, where we have learnt all we can about its causal origin. The theory that provides the best explanation of the content of our considered intuition gains support from the experiment. A nice aspect of thought experiments, it is noted, is that we are all capable of repeating them for ourselves.

Keywords:   maximin, egalitarianism, utilitarianism, intuitions, cognitive psychotherapy

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