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A Social Division of Responsibility for Health

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Johannes KniessORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


When is it fair that some people are less healthy than others due to their own individual choices and preferences? In this paper, I explore two alternative answers. The first is a luck-egalitarian account that holds people responsible for choices that society could have reasonably expected them to avoid. I argue that this account is indeterminate and go on to sketch an alternative proposal based on Rawls’s idea of a “social division of responsibility.” This latter approach connects the notion of responsibility for health to the social conditions under which health-related behaviour is developed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kniess J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Les ateliers de l'éthique

Year: 2018

Volume: 13

Issue: 3

Pages: 105–122

Online publication date: 20/06/2019

Acceptance date: 23/04/2019

Date deposited: 25/11/2019

ISSN (electronic): 1718-9977

Publisher: Centre de recherche en éthique de l’Université de Montréal


DOI: 10.7202/1061221ar


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