Political Theory

Health, Responsibility, and Liberty


This colloquium brought together a group of multidisciplinary academics, policy analysts, and health professionals to explore the relationship between health, liberty, and personal responsibility. We employed a mix of pieces specifically related to healthcare paired with classic, and mostly general, pieces from the classical liberal tradition.


From Liberty Fund

The Theory of Moral Sentiments

by By Adam Smith
Edited by D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie

The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith’s first and in his own mind most important work, outlines his view of proper conduct and the institutions and sentiments that make men virtuous. Here he develops his doctrine of the impartial spectator, whose hypothetical disinterested judgment we must use to distinguish right from…

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Additional Readings

Gattaca. Directed by Andrew Niccol. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment: Culver City, California, 2008. DVD.

Buchanan, James M. “Afraid to be free: Dependency as desideratum.” Public Choice 124 (2005): 19-31.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Everyman's Library, 1992.

Emanuel, E. J. and V. R. Fuchs. “Health Care Vouchers: A Proposal for Universal Coverage.” New England Journal of Medicine 352, no. 12 (March 24, 2005): 1255-1260.

Hayek, Friedrich A. “The Use of Knowledge in Society.” The American Economic Review 35, no. 4 (September 1945): 519-530.

Holm, S. “Obesity Interventions and Ethics.” Obesity Reviews 8 (2007): 207-210.

Kling, Arnold. Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 2006.

Pope, Thaddeus M. “Balancing Public Health Against Individual Liberty: The Ethics of Smoking Regulations.” University of Pittsburgh Law Review 61, no. 2 (Winter 2000): 419-498.

Thaler, Richard H. and Cass R. Sunstein. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. New York: Penguin Books, 2008.

Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America: (Bilingual Edition). Edited by Eduardo Nolla. Translated by James T. Schleifer. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2010.