Solidarity and Health: A Public Goods Justification

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Patricia Illingworth
Wendy E. Parmet


This comment on Professor ter Meulen's paper, "Solidarity and Justice in Health Care," offers additional perspectives on  solidarity's importance for health. Noting the findings of social epidemiology, the paper explains that health has important public good dimensions. It is both non-rivlalrous because one person's health does not diminish another's, and it is largely determined by non-excludable access goods, including social networks, social determinants, and public health efforts. The public good dimension of health underscores the mutual dependence and shared stake that people have with respect to health, and highlights the importance of coming together in solidarity for the sake of health. This is not to say that solidarity cannot also foster exclusionary tendencies; however, the recognition of mutual dependency with respect to health can foster an inclusive solidarity for the health of all people.


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How to Cite
Illingworth, Patricia, and Wendy E. Parmet. 2015. “Solidarity and Health: A Public Goods Justification”. Diametros, no. 43 (March):65-71.
Special Topic - Solidarity and Justice in Health Care
Author Biographies

Patricia Illingworth, Northeastern University

Patricia Illingworth, JD, PhDProfessor of PhilosophyDepartment of Philosophy and ReligionNortheastern University360 Huntington Ave. Boston, MA 02115USAE-mail:

Wendy E. Parmet, Northeastern University School of Law

Wendy E. ParmetDir. Program on Health Policy & Law andMatthews Distinguished UniversityProfessor of LawNortheastern University School of Law400 Huntington Ave.Boston, MA 02115USAEmail:
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