Justice and Solidarity: Compound, Confound, Confuse

Thomas Nys

About author

Dr. Thomas Nys
Capaciteitsgroep Philosophy and Public Affairs
Faculty of Humanities
University of Amsterdam
Oude Turfmarkt 143
1012 GC Amsterdam

E-mail: T.R.V.Nys@uva.nl

Thomas Nys is Assistant Professor of Ethics at the University of Amsterdam. His research interests include, among others, personal and moral autonomy, the normative foundations of liberalism, trust and recognition, and the justification of paternalism in health care. He has published widely in a variety of international peer-reviewed journals, like Philosophical Explorations, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Acta Politica, and Public Health Ethics.


In response to Ruud ter Meulen’s contribution, it is argued that, although the relationship between these concepts is both tight and complex, solidarity should be carefully distinguished from justice.  Although ter Meulen wants to defend a normative conception of solidarity, the relation to its descriptive component is not always very clear. As a normative concept it should not collapse into that of justice; and as a descriptive notion it is obviously defective. In order to successfully navigate between these unhappy alternatives, ter Meulen rightfully turns to critical theory. But then it is still not entirely clear how the normative considerations that ter Meulen wants to defend follow from this promising framework.

Full Text:



  1. R. ter Meulen, “Solidarity and Justice in Health Care. A Critical Analysis of Their Relationship,” Diametros (43) 2015, p. 1–20.
  2. E. Schokkaert, “Warm en koud: Solidariteit en verantwoordelijkheid in de ziektverzekering,” Ethische Perspectieven 8 (3) 1998, p. 135–146.



Article links:

Default URL: http://www.diametros.iphils.uj.edu.pl/index.php/diametros/article/view/716
English abstract URL: http://www.diametros.iphils.uj.edu.pl/index.php/diametros/article/view/716/en


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