Norman Daniels

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Norman Daniels
Born 1942
New York
Residence Massachusetts, USA
Fields global health, population health, health ethics, philosophy, ethics
Institutions Tufts University, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University

Norman Daniels, born in 1942, is an American philosopher, ethicist, and bioethicist at Harvard University.[1]

Teaching positions[edit]

Daniels is Mary B. Saltonstall Professor of Population Ethics and Professor of Ethics and Population Health in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

Previously, and for 33 years, he taught medical ethics at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.



Daniels is married to neuro-psychologist Anne Lacy Daniels. They have one son, Noah M. Daniels, a postdoctoral research associate at MIT.

With Jared Israel, Daniels co-chaired the Harvard chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society in 1969.[2][3][4]

In a public letter to his fraternity brothers at Wesleyan, Daniels wrote: "At Harvard, I ended up co-chair of SDS and gave the speech on the steps of University Hall April 9, 1969, that began the take-over of that administration building and thus led to the Harvard Strike. I would have been fired as a teaching fellow, so I followed my advisors advice and quit that position to take a part-time job at Tufts, teaching philosophy of science and political philosophy. I stayed 33 years." [5]


  • Moral Epistemology

A recent outline of his thinking on the issue of 'justification' in ethics is in the entry on 'reflective equilibrium' Stanford Philosophy Encyclopedia.
A full collection of his papers on this topic is in his book Justice and Justification (CUP, 1996).

  • Theory of Justice:

Daniels has contrasted the complex form of egalitarianism represented by Rawls's and others. His "Democratic Equality: Rawls's Complex Egalitarianism" in Sam Freeman (ed) Cambridge Companion to Rawls (2003) treats this issue. Daniels believes that a principled account of justice in John Rawls's work requires a fair, deliberative process for setting limits to health care (and for other resource allocation or rationing efforts) as a legislative and regulatory supplement.

  • Justice and Health

Applying a broadly consistent theory of justice to issues surrounding health and society, Daniels completed a sequel to his 1985 book Just Health Care, Just Health: Meeting Health Needs Fairly (Cambridge University Press, 2008), adding a broader vision of the socially controllable factors that affect population health and its distribution to his original attempt to say why health care is of special moral importance because of its connection to protecting opportunities for individuals. This permits an answer to the question, when are health inequalities unjust? He argues that Rawls's principles of justice as fairness capture the central social determinants of health: conforming with them would flatten social gradients of health as much as can be reasonably expected. Just Health integrates the account of fair deliberative process, accountability for reasonableness, with the rest of the theory as a way of answering the question, "How can we meet needs fairly when we cannot meet them all." The book also has chapters on justice between age groups, health system reform, social experiments on populations, fair process in patient selection for AIDS treatments, occupational health, professionalism, reducing health disparities, human rights and priority setting, and international health inequalities.

  • Setting Limits Fairly

Together with Jim Sabin, Daniels published Setting Limits Fairly: Can We Learn to Share Medical Resources? (OUP, 2002). They are writing on this topic with collaborators in Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway, and elsewhere where fair process, specifically "accountability for reasonableness," has emerged as the key to priority and limit setting in universal coverage systems.
In the US, they continue to work on pharmacy benefits and on independent review of insurance denials. With the Mexican Ministry of Health, he assisted in developing a fair process for deciding on additions to the catastrophic insurance plan included in Mexico's new Segura Popular and is continuing work to extend that process for use in other parts of the Mexican health system.
An application of accountability for reasonableness to human rights approach to health is described in Gruskin and Daniels, "Justice and Human Rights: Priority Setting and Fair Deliberative Process", American Journal of Public Health, 2008; 98:9.

  • Justice and Intergenerational Equity

Daniels has revisited issues on justice between age groups in Am I My Parents' Keeper? An Essay on Justice Between the Young and the Old (New York: Oxford, 1988) in "Justice Between Adjacent Generations: Further Thoughts" Journal of Political Philosophy (2008).

  • Ethics and Health Sector Reform (Benchmarks of Fairness)

Domestic Daniels is interested in issues of access to the US system, including health disparities. He participated in the subcommittee on social costs of the recent IOM publication on uninsurance in the U.S. With Marc Roberts, he coauthored an article on ethical issues in U.S. health reform for the Hastings Center.
Global With collaborators in a dozen countries on three continents, Daniels is working to demonstrate the utility of an evidence-based policy tool for evaluating the fairness - the equity, accountability, and efficiency - of health sector reforms in developing countries and to improve capacity in those countries to carry out research on the fairness of reform activities. With collaborators from Cameroon, Thailand, and Guatemala, he presented results at the November 2003 APHA meeting in San Francisco. The current work, reported on most recently in the Bulletin of WHO in 2005, is an attempt to develop country-specific adaptations of the generic benchmarks reported in the Bulletin of WHO in June 2000. The application of that approach as a method of providing ethical evaluation of health sector reforms, viewed as "social experiments," is described in the American Journal of Public Health in 2006.

Professional affiliations[edit]


Other Publications[edit]

  • Daniels, N. Justice, Health and Health Care. American Journal of Bioethics 2001 1:2:3-15.
  • Daniels, N., Kennedy, B., Kawachi, I. Justice, Health, and Health Policy. In Danis M, Clancy C, (eds.) Integrating Ethics and Health Policy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • Daniels, N.,Teagarden, R., and Sabin, J., An Ethical Template for Pharmacy Benefits. Health Affairs, January/February 2003; 22:1:125-137.
  • Daniels, N. Chevron v Echazabal: Protection, Opportunity, and Paternalism. American Journal of Public Health, April 2003; 93:4:545-549.
  • Daniels, N. Democratic Equality: Rawls?s Complex Egalitarianism. In Freeman, S (ed.) pp. 241–277 The Cambridge Companion to Rawls. Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  • Daniels, N. The Functions of Insurance and the Fairness of Genetic Underwriting. In Rothstein, M.A. (ed). Genetics and Life Insurance: Medical Underwriting and Social Policy. Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2004, pp. 119–145.
  • Daniels, N. Accountability for Reasonable Limits to Care. In Mechanic D, Rogut L, Colby D, and Knickman J. (eds). Policy Challenges in Modern Health Care. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005: 228-248.
  • Kawachi, I., Daniels N, Robinson, D. Health Disparities by Race and Class: Why Both Matter. Health Affairs. 2005; Mar/April 343-42.
  • Daniels, N., Flores, W., Ndumbe, P., Pannarunothai, S., Bryant, J., Ngulube, T.J., Wang, Y. An Evidence-Based Approach to Benchmarking the Fairness of Health Sector Reform in Developing Countries. Bulletin of WHO;July 2005:83:7:534-39.
  • Daniels, N. Toward an Ethical Review of Health System Transformations. American Journal of Public Health. 2006; 96:3:447-51.
  • Daniels, N., and Rosenthal, M., Consumer Driven Health Plans: Toward Ethical Review of a social experiment and the Responsibilities of Employers. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law. 2006; 31:3:671-85.
  • Daniels, N., Kennedy B., Kawachi, I. Social Determinants of Health Inequalities: Why Justice is Good for Our Health. In Anand S, Peter F, Sen AK. (eds.) Public Health, Ethics, and Equity, Oxford University Press.
  • Daniels N. Equity and Population Health: Toward a Broader Bioethics Agenda. Hastings Center Report. 2006; 36:4 22-35.
  • Wharam JF. and Daniels, N. Toward Evidence-Based Policy Making and Standardized Assessment of Health Policy Reform. JAMA. 2007. 298:6: 676-9.
  • Gruskin, S. and Daniels N. Process is the Point: Justice and Human Rights: Priority Setting and Fair Deliberative Process, American Journal of Public Health. 2008 Sep;98(9):1573-7.
  • Daniels N. Justice Between Adjacent Generations: Further Thoughts. Journal of Political Theory (2008; in press)
  • Daniels N, and Sabin JE. Accountability for Reasonable Priority Setting. BMJ. Oct 9 2008;9:337:a1850.
  • Neumann PJ, Palmer JA, Daniels N, Quigley K, Gold MR, Chao S. A Strategic Plan for Integrating Cost-effectiveness Analysis into the US Healthcare System. Panel on Integrating Cost-Effectiveness Considerations into Health Policy Decisions. Am J Manag Care. 2008 Apr; 14(4):185-8.
  • Daniels, N. Can anyone really be talking about ethically modifying human nature? In Sevalescu, J, Bostrom N. Human Enhancement. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2008; (in press).
  • Daniels, N. Reasonableness in Health Policy. Oxford Textbook of Medicine. (in press)
  • Daniels, N. Another Voice: Rescuing Universal Health Care. Hastings Center Report. (in press)
  • Daniels, N. Rose, S., and Zide, E.D., Disability, Adaptation, and Inclusion. In Disability and Disadvantage: Re-examining Topics in Moral and Political Philosophy, Kimberley Brownlee and Adam Cureton (eds), New York: Oxford University Press (in press).
  • Daniels, Norman (2010), "Capabilities, opportunity, and health", in Robeyns, Ingrid; Brighouse, Harry, Measuring justice: primary goods and capabilities, Cambridge England New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 131–149, ISBN 9780521711470 
  • Daniels, N. International Health Inequalities and Global Justice. In International Public Health Policy And Ethics, ed. Michael Boylan (Dordrecht, NE: Springer, 2009), pp. 109–130.
  • Daniels, N. Social and Individual Responsibility for health. in Carl Knight and Zofia Stemplowska (eds), Distributive Justice and Responsibility (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 20XX).
  • Daniels N, and Roberts M. Ethics and Healthcare Reform. Hastings Center Briefing Book
  • Sabin JE, and Daniels N. Allocation of Mental Health Resources. In Psychiatric Ethics, Sidney Bloch and Stephen A. Green (eds) (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 111–126.
  • Daniels N. Broken Promises: Business-Friendly Strategies That Frustrate Just Health Care. In Denis G. Arnold, ed., Ethics and the Business of Biomedicine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2009), pp. 35–62.
  • Daniels N, Saloner, B, and Gelpi, AH. Access, Cost, and Financing: Achieving An Ethical health Reform. Health Affairs Web Exclusive. 18 August 2009.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Robert M. Smith (May 2, 1969). "169 Fined in Harvard Sit-In; 2 Cleared at Cambridge". The New York Times. Retrieved February 9, 2009. 
  3. ^ "70 Youths Ejected In Protest on Draft At House Building". The New York Times. May 9, 1967. Retrieved February 9, 2009. 
  4. ^ Alexander Reid (April 9, 1989). "Harvard, Ex-Radicals Remember Many Talk of Feelings 20 Years After Protest". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 9, 2009. 
  5. ^

External links[edit]