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Feiring's concept of forward-looking responsibility: a dead end for responsibility in healthcare
  1. Andreas Albertsen
  1. Correspondence to Andreas Albertsen, Department of Political Science and Government, Aarhus University, School of Business and Social Sciences, Bartholins Alle 7, Aarhus C 8000, Denmark; aba{at}


Eli Feiring has developed a concept of forward-looking responsibility in healthcare. On this account, what matters morally in the allocation of scarce healthcare resources is not people's past behaviours but rather their commitment to take on lifestyles that will increase the benefit acquired from received treatment. According to Feiring, this is to be preferred over the backward-looking concept of responsibility often associated with luck egalitarianism. The article critically scrutinises Feiring's position. It begins by spelling out the wider implications of Feiring's view. Against this background, it shows that (i) Feiring's distinction between backward-looking and forward-looking responsibility is incompatible with the Scanlonian notion of responsibility she apparently endorses; (ii) her favoured forward-looking notion of responsibility is subject to the objections levelled against the luck egalitarian view (whatever the strength of such objections).

  • Allocation of Health Care Resources
  • Distributive Justice
  • Ethics
  • Health Care Economics
  • Public Health Ethics

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