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Physicians’ Strikes and the Competing Bases of Physicians’ Moral Obligations


Many authors have addressed the morality of physicians’ strikes on the assumption that medical practice is morally different from other kinds of occupations. This article analyzes three prominent theoretical accounts that attempt to ground such special moral obligations for physicians—practice-based accounts, utilitarian accounts, and social contract accounts—and assesses their applicability to the problem of the morality of strikes. After critiquing these views, it offers a fourth view grounding special moral obligations in voluntary commitments, and explains why this is a preferable basis for understanding physicians’ moral obligations in general and especially as pertaining to strikes.

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