University of Sussex

File(s) under permanent embargo

Solidarity in bioethics

posted on 2023-06-09, 13:19 authored by Peter West-OramPeter West-Oram, Alena Buyx, Barbara Prainsack
The concept of solidarity is frequently cited in discussions about distributive justice and what we owe to other people. In addition, solidarity is increasingly the focus of debates in bioethical theory and practice, where it is treated as a concept of fundamental importance, for example in public and global health contexts. Despite the attention that solidarity increasingly receives, however, an exact definition of the term and of its role in bioethics remains elusive. In this paper, we offer an overview of different understandings of solidarity, the history of the concept, and its application to a variety of bioethical issues. We then highlight a definition that we consider particularly fruitful in using solidarity as a guiding principle for policy and practice; in this definition solidarity is understood a commitments to accept costs to support others with whom people recognise relevant similarities.


Political Philosophy and Bioethics; DeutscheForschungsGemeinschaft


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Accepted version


Electronic Library of Science



Book title

Encyclopedia of life sciences

Department affiliated with

  • BSMS Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected