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A Right to Health? (Forum for Philosophy)

10 February, 6:00 pm7:15 pm

International agreements and over a hundred national constitutions recognize a “right to health”, often defined as a claim to the “highest attainable standard of health”. So understood, several questions arise about this supposed right. Do people really have a claim on others to be helped to become as healthy as possible? Who are the agencies on which they might have such a claim (governments, corporations, international organizations)? Can this right be made consistent with limits on the available resources for health care? And how should this right be balanced against other rights, such as the right to free movement? A leading constitutional law scholar, an expert on the right to health and problems with its institutionalisation in Brazil, and two philosophers who have proposed interpretations of the right to health will debate these questions.



Octavio Ferraz teaches Law at King’s College London. His research interests are in the field of human rights and development, especially the role and impact of law and courts in poverty, equality and social justice. He adopts mostly comparative, transnational and international perspectives, and an interdisciplinary approach, engaging with political philosophy, economics, sociology and political sciences and combining empirical methods and theoretical inquiry in his projects.

Carmen Pavel is Associate Professor in Political Economy at King’s College London. Dr. Pavel specialises in political philosophy and the history of political thought. Her interests include international justice and international law, liberal theory and contemporary challenges to it, and ethics and public policy. Her recent book Law Beyond the State focuses on the reasons we have to develop international law and the appropriate scope of its authority over sovereign states.

Alex Voorhoeve is a Professor of Philosophy and Head of Department at the LSE’s Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method. He works in distributive justice, especially in health care. He has proposed an interpretation of the right to health that makes it consistent with fair priority setting, and has investigated its institutionalisation in Latin America.



Kai Moller teaches law at LSE. His work in human and constitutional rights law and theory attempts to specify the moral, legal, constitutional, and institutional implications of a commitment to human dignity, freedom, and equality.


10 February
6:00 pm – 7:15 pm
Event Category:


Forum for Philosophy