Conference article

Justice Viewed from a Care Perspective

Franziska Krause
University of Freiburg, Institute of Ethics and History of Medicine, Freiburg i.Br, Germany

Download article

Published in: Proceedings from the Societas Ethica Annual Conference 2011; The Quest for perfection. The Future of Medicine/Medicine of the future; August 25-28; 2011; Universita della Svizzera Italiana; Lugano; Switzerland

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 74:4, p. 55-63

Show more +

Published: 2013-01-28


ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


My presentation will focus on the question of how care-ethicists describe justice; and to be more precise: justice in modern health care with special emphasis on the physician-patient relationship.

In the following paper; I would like to give a short introduction to the intensified conflict of the physician’s professional role in modern medicine and I will argue for the relevance of the physician-patient relationship in the context of justice. In the next step; I will characterise the ethics of care as an approach of normative ethical theory. The ethics of care puts a special focus on relationships and the particular other (what exactly is meant by that I will figure out later). On the basis of this focus I will examine whether the ethics of care can add new aspects to the question of how to deal with problems of justice in modern health care with regard to the physician-patient relationship. In particular; I will take into account the position of Michael Slote and his recent book “The Ethics of Care and Empathy” where he states that the ethics of care are able to deal with questions of justice. Among other things that I cannot mention in this context; Slote suggests the distinction between personal and humanitarian caring in order to clarify our moral obligations to help others. To conclude this discussion; I will come back to the questions of what the ethics of care can contribute to the discussion of justice in health care and which consequences can be drawn for the physicianpatient relationship.


The ethics of care; justice; Michael Slote; physician-patient relationship


Blum; L. A.; 1988; Gilligan and Kohlberg. Implications for Moral Theory. in Ethics Vol. 98 Issue 3; p. 472-491.

Conradi; E.; 2001; Take Care. Grundlagen einer Ethik der Achtsamkeit.; Frankfurt a.M. u.a.; Campus Verlag.

Gilligan; C.; 1982; In a Differnet Voice. Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Cambridge u.a.; Harvard University Press.

Harris; J.; 2012; What It’s Like to be Good. in Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics Vol. 21; p. 293-305.

Held; V.; 2006; The Ethics of Care. Personal; Political and Global. Oxford u.a.; Oxford University Press.

Held; V.; 2011; Care; Empathy; and Justice. Comment on Michael Slote’s Moral Sentimentalism. in Analytic Philosophy Vol 52 Issue 4; p. 312-318.

Holm; S.; 2011; Can ’Giving Preference to My Patients’ be Explained as a Role Related Duty in Public Health Care Systems? in Health Care Analysis Vol. 19 Issue 1; p. 89-97.

Livnat; Y.; 2003; Benevolence and Justice. in The Journal of Value Inquiry Vol. 37; p. 507-515.

Miles; S. H.; 2004; The Hippocratic Oath and the Ethics of Medicine. Oxford u.a.; Oxford University Press.

Noddings; N.; 1986; Caring. A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education. Berkeley u.a.; Univ. of California Press.

Pellegrino; E. D.; 1994; Allocation of Resources at the Bedside. The Intersections of Economics; Law and Ethics. in Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal Vol. 4 Issue 4; p. 309-317.

Reich; W. T.; Jecker N. S.; 2004; Care. Encyclopedia of Bioethics. S. G. Post. New York u.a.; MacMillan Reference USA u.a.; p. 349-374.

Slote; M.; 1998; Caring in the Balance. Norms and Values. Essays on the Work of Virginia Held. J. C. Haber and M. S. Halfon. Oxford; Rowman & Littlefield; p. 27-36.

Slote; M.; 1998; The Justice of Caring. in Social Philosophy and Policy Vol. 15 Issue 1; p. 171-195.

Slote; M.; 2007; The Ethics of Care and Empathy. New York; Routledge.

van Hooft; S.; 2011; Caring; Objectivity and Justice. An Integrative View. in Nursing Ethics Vol. 18 Issue 2; p. 149-160.

White; R.; 2009; Care and Justice. in Ethical Perspectives Vol. 16 Issue 4; p. 459-483.

Williams; B.; 1981; Moral Luck. Cambridge u.a.; Cambridge University Press.

Citations in Crossref