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date: 17 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

What justice requires of society with respect to health care and, more specifically, with respect to the treatment of the mentally ill, is a pressing philosophical and practical question. A natural approach to answering this question is to begin with the work of John Rawls, who has articulated one of the most comprehensive and influential modern theories of justice. I explore the basic outlines of Rawls’s theory and examine multiple attempts to apply it to health care, examining issues specific to the just allocation of mental health care where they arise. I argue that, though Rawls’s view and its derivates offer compelling reasons to think that justice requires a society to provide health care to its mentally ill citizens, they provide little guidance regarding how extensive the claims of the mentally ill on a society’s resources should be.

Keywords: John Rawls, justice, health care, mental illness, society

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