Epidemiology and social justice in light of social determinants of health research

Sridhar Venkatapuram*, Michael Marmot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


The present article identifies how social determinants of health raise two categories of philosophical problems that also fall within the smaller domain of ethics; one set pertains to the philosophy of epidemiology, and the second set pertains to the philosophy of health and social justice. After reviewing these two categories of ethical concerns, the limited conclusion made is that identifying and responding to social determinants of health requires inter-disciplinary reasoning across epidemiology and philosophy. For the reasoning used in epidemiology to be sound, for its scope and (moral) purpose as a science to be clarified as well as for social justice theory to be relevant and coherent, epidemiology and philosophy need to forge a meaningful exchange of ideas that happens in both directions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbern/a
Pages (from-to)79-89
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Early online date6 Jan 2009
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • health equity
  • philosophy
  • social determinants of health
  • public health ethics
  • social epidemiology
  • social justice
  • health inequalities


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