1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Public Health

Edited By Sridhar Venkatapuram, Alex Broadbent Copyright 2023
    444 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In comparison to medicine, the professional field of public health is far less familiar. What is public health, and perhaps as importantly, what should public health be or become? How do causal concepts shape the public health agenda? How do study designs either promote or demote the environmental causal factors or health inequalities? How is risk understood, expressed, and communicated? Who is public health research centered on? How can we develop technologies so the benefits are more fairly distributed? Do people have a right to public health? How should we integrate ethics into public health practice?

    The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Public Health addresses these questions and more, and is the first collection of its kind. Comprising 26 chapters by an international and interdisciplinary team of contributors, the handbook is divided into four clear parts:

    • Concepts and distinctions
    • Reasons and actions
    • Distribution and inequalities
    • Rights and duties

    The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Public Health is a field-defining and sustained reflection on the various ethical, political, methodological, and conceptual aspects of global public health. As such it is an essential reference source for students and scholars working in political philosophy, bioethics, public health ethics, and the philosophy of medicine, as well as for professionals and researchers in related fields such as public health, health economics, and epidemiology.

    Introduction: Philosophy and Public Health Alex Broadbent and Sridhar Venkatapuram

    Part 1: Concepts and Distinctions

    1. The Public in Public Health John Coggon

    2. Medicine and Public Health Daniel Steel

    3. Groups and Individuals Stephen John

    4. Concepts of Health and Disease in Public Health Benjamin Smart

    5. Public Health and Ethics Sridhar Venkatapuram

    6. The Philosophical Implications of Fundamental Cause Theory Daniel Goldberg

    7. Causal Pluralism and Public Health Federica Russo

    Part 2: Reasons and Actions

    8. External Validity and Public Health Chad Harris

    9. Explanation in Public Health Olaf Dammann

    10. Evidence-Based Medicine and Public Health Mathew Mercuri and Ross E. G. Upshur

    11. Profiling in Public Health Winnie Ma

    12. Big Data and Public Health Derek W. Braverman

    13. Machine Learning and Public Health: Philosophical Issues Thomas Grote and Alex Broadbent

    Part 3: Distribution and Inequalities

    14. Capabilities, Human Flourishing, and the Health Gap Michael Marmot

    15. Measuring Social Position in Health Inequality Research Mel Bartley

    16. Race and Racism in Public Health M.A. Diamond-Hunter

    17. Sex and Gender Blind Spots and Biases in Health Research Avni Amin, Lavanya Vijayasingham, and Jacqui Stevenson

    18. Global Health Indicators and Data: Communicative Signs and Sites of Contest Sara L. M. Davis

    19. Securitization and Health Jeremy Youde

    20. Health, Place and Justice: A Philosophical Appraisal of Promoting Equity in Covid-19 through Disadvantage Indices Samantha Fritz, Tuhina Srivastava, Emily Sadecki, and Harald Schmidt

    Part 4: Rights and Duties

    21. Social Justice and Public Health Maxwell J. Smith

    22. Health, Healthcare, and Public Health as Objects of (Human) Rights Michael Da Silva

    23. Disability Justice and Public Health Agnès Berthelot-Raffard

    24. Ageing and Justice in Health: A Conceptual Map toward a Unified View Kebadu Mekonnen Gebremariam and Ritu Sadana

    25. Philosophical Issues in Cancer and Public Health Anya Plutynski

    26. Public Health, Human Rights, and Philosophy Kristen Hessler.



    Sridhar Venkatapuram is Associate Professor of Global Health and Philosophy at King’s College London, UK. He is based at the Global Health Institute, where he is Deputy Director, and Director of Global Health Education. He publishes widely across various disciplines, has helped establish health justice philosophy, and has worked in various ethics advisory roles to public and global health institutions. He is the author of Health Justice: An Argument from the Capabilities Approach (2011) and co-editor of Vulnerable: The Law, Policy and Ethics of Covid-19 (2020). He can be found at @sridhartweet.

    Alex Broadbent is Professor of Philosophy of Science at Durham University, UK, and Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His research concerns the philosophy of epidemiology and medicine, causation, counterfactuals, prediction, complexity, conceptual aspects of machine learning, and scientific evidence in law. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Philosophy of Medicine. He is an Associate Member of Millennium Chambers, The Barrister Network, London.