Journal Article

Justice in Care—With Special Regard to Long-Term Care

Kai Ingolf Johannessen

in Christian bioethics: Non-Ecumenical Studies in Medical Morality

Published on behalf of The Journal of Christian Bioethics Inc.

Volume 15, issue 2, pages 154-172
Published in print August 2009 | ISSN: 1380-3603
Published online July 2009 | e-ISSN: 1744-4195 | DOI:
Justice in Care—With Special Regard to Long-Term Care

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In this article, the relevance of justice in care is discussed, with special regard to long-term care. After a short introduction laying out the conceptual framework of justice and care, followed by an exploration of some special challenges within long-term care, this article consists of two main parts. The first part deals with justice as a general (secular) philosophical phenomenon and draws especially upon principles of justice as developed by John Rawls. Both the principle of fair equality of opportunity and the difference principle, according to which an unequal treatment may be justified, provided that those “worst off” benefit mostly and are relevant within the field of care. The feminist debate about an ethics of care is also considered since its more recent contributions offer interesting attempts to mediate between justice and care. The second part of the article introduces a Christian perspective on justice, with relevance for (long-term) care. From a Christian point of view, one will even more strongly than Rawls argue for a conception of justice, which gives priority to those worst off. It is also argued that justice and care converge in the practice of diakonia. Diakonia, in many traditions synonymous with the caring dimension of the church, always had a special focus on long-term care. In this kind of church-based practice, justice and care are reconciled.

Keywords: care; Christian ethics; diakonia; distributive justice; long-term care; suum cuique

Journal Article.  8073 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Medical Ethics ; Christian Life and Practice

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