Do the mentally ill suffer unneeded distributive injustice? PDF (Adobe DRM) download by M.R Harnden

Do the mentally ill suffer unneeded distributive injustice?

Publication date: January 2009
ISBN: 9781847478153
Digital Book format: PDF (Adobe DRM)


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Current research shows that many people suffering from debilitating mental illnesses, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, also endure additional types of hardship alongside the considerable trauma of their troublesome mental health. Not only must these afflicted people come to terms with a life-changing series of events that not all survive, they also face a new social reality that sees their expectations and prospects diminish to an alarming extent.

In the Introduction to this dissertation, I outline the nature of these additional hardships and source the telling research that demonstrates they exist.

In Chapter 1, I introduce the reader to some of the broader issues involving mental illness, within the context of debates surrounding personhood and citizenship. I then seek an explanation for the unfair state of affairs that research reveals by referring to certain prominent philosophers and their views on justice and injustice. John Rawls' A Theory of Justice is the subject for most of Chapter 2.

Throughout, I search Rawls' distributive paradigm for any sense of the predicament of the mentally ill, hoping to learn if Rawls' brand of distributive justice might be the appropriate means through which to address the concerns raised by the Introduction and Chapter 1 of this dissertation. I check Rawls' work for direct reference to the mentally disabled and draw from his analysis the place that they occupy in his thinking. If his theory of justice were to apply to the type of circumstances the mentally ill face, and he offers a way forward for these people, I will be able to argue that the mentally ill do suffer unnecessarily from distributive injustice.

Alternatively, Iris Marion Young might offer a more coherent account of justice and injustice, via her work on oppression and domination in Justice and the Politics of Difference. This is the subject of Chapter 3. By the end of Chapter 3, I am in an informed enough position to decide if either Rawls or Young offer a reasonable account for the various inequalities that mental illness engenders.

I will ideally provide, in the Conclusion to this dissertation, philosophical assurance of the future alleviation of present injustices as they afflict the mentally ill; or at least a strong conviction as to how the most blatant instances of unfair treatment, at work, in the family and in society generally, can be largely reduced. It might prove the case that the mentally ill suffer unnecessarily from injustice but not necessarily that of the distributive kind.
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