Solidarity: A Local, Partial and Reflective Emotion

David Heyd

About author

Prof. David Heyd
Chaim Perelman Professor of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy
The Hebrew University
Jerusalem 91905


David Heyd is Chaim Perelman Professor of Philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His principal research interests are in ethics, political philosophy and bioethics.


Solidarity is analysed in contradistinction from two adjacent concepts - justice and sympathy. It is argued that unlike the other two, it is essentially local (rather than universal), partial (rather than impartial) and reflective (an emotion mediated by belief and ideology, interest and common cause). Although not to be confused with justice, solidarity is presented as underlying any contract-based system of justice, since it defines the contours of the group within which the contract is taking place. Finally, due to the fact that health is a typically universal value and being a primary good it is something which should be distributed justly, solidarity seems not to have any central role in bioethics.

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  1. S.A. Butler, “A Dialectic of Cooperation and Competition: Solidarity and Health Care Provision,” Bioethics (26) 2012, p. 351–360.
  2. D. Heyd, “Justice and Solidarity: The Contractarian Case against Global Justice,” Journal of Social Philosophy (38) 2007, p. 112–130.
  3. O. Lev, “Will Biomedical Enhancements Undermine Solidarity, Responsibility, Equality and Autonomy?” Bioethics (25) 2011, p. 177–184.
  4. R. ter Meulen, “Solidarity and Justice in Health Care. A Critical Analysis of their Relationship”, Diametros (43) 2015, p. 1–20.
  5. B. Prainsack, A. Buyx, “Solidarity in Contemporary Bioethics”, Bioethics (26) 2012, p. 343–350.
  6. J. Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA 1971.


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