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Justice in the Social Distribution of Health

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Johannes KniessORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Florida State University, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


How should we think, from the point of view of distributive justice, about inequalities in health and longevity? Norman Daniels’s influential account derives a social duty to reduce health inequalities from Rawls’s principle of fair equality of opportunity. This paper criticises Daniels’s approach and offers an alternative. To the extent that the basic structure of society shapes people’s opportunities to be healthy, we ought to think of ‘the social bases of health’ directly as a Rawlsian primary social good. The paper attempts to clarify the correct principle for its distribution, and its relationship to other goods that give rise to considerations of justice.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kniess J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Social Theory and Practice

Year: 2019

Volume: 45

Issue: 3

Pages: 397-425

Online publication date: 01/10/2019

Acceptance date: 19/02/2019

Date deposited: 25/11/2019

ISSN (print): 0037-802X

ISSN (electronic): 2154-123X

Publisher: Florida State University


DOI: 10.5840/soctheorpract201992665


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