Responding to the Tragedies of Our Time (Nicole Hassoun)
SEP 23, 2020 | 4:15 PM TO 6:15 PM
September 23, 2020: 4:15 PM-6:15 PM
Center for Global Ethics and Politics
We live in tragic times. Millions are sheltering in place to avoid exacerbating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. How should we respond to such tragedies? This paper argues that the human right to health can help us do so because the right inspires human rights advocates, claimants, and those with responsibility for fulfilling the right to try hard to satisfy its claims. That is, the right should, and often does, give rise to what I call the virtue of creative resolve. This resolve embodies a fundamental commitment to finding creative solutions to what appear to be tragic dilemmas. Contra critics, we should not reject the right even if it cannot tell us how to ration scarce health resources. Rather, the right gives us a response to apparent tragedy in motivating us to search for ways of fulfilling everyone’s basic health needs.
Nicole Hassoun a professor in philosophy at Binghamton University and a visiting scholar at Cornell University. She co-directs the Institute for Justice and Well-being. She is the author of Globalization and Global Justice: Shrinking Distance, Expanding Obligations (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and Global Health Impact: Extending Access to Essential Medicine (Oxford University Press, 2020) and has published widely in philosophy, economics and public health journals.
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