Advertisement

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 471–487 | Cite as

On the possibility and desirability of constructing a neutral conception of disability

  • Anita Silvers
Article

Abstract

Disagreement about the properattitude toward disability proliferates. Yetlittle attention has been paid to an importantmeta-question, namely, whether ``disability'' isan essentially contested concept. If so, recentdebates between bioethicists and the disabilitymovement leadership cannot be resolved. Inthis essay I identify some of the presumptionsthat make their encounters so contentious. Much more must happen, I argue, for anydiscussions about disability policy andpolitics to be productive. Progress depends onconstructing a neutral conception ofdisability, one that neither devaluesdisability nor implies that persons withdisabilities are inadequate. So, first, I clearaway the conceptual underbrush that makes usthink our idea of disability must bevalue-laden. Second, I sketch someconstituents of, and constraints upon, aneutral notion of disability.

disability justice medical model rehabilitation species-typical functioning 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Becker, Lawrence. “The Good of Agency.” Americans with Disabilities: Implications of the Law for Individuals and Institutions. Edited by Leslie Frances and Anita Silvers. New York: Routledge, 2000, pp. 54–63.Google Scholar
  2. Bickenbach, Jerome. “Disability Studies and Bioethics: A Comment on Kuczewski.” American Journal of Bioethics 1(3) (2001): 49–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buchanan, Allen, Dan Brock, Norman Daniels, Daniel Wikler. From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.Google Scholar
  4. Cohn, D'Vera. “Number of Children with Handicaps Grows.” San Francisco Chronicle (Saturday, July 6, 2002): A3.Google Scholar
  5. Fuhrer, Marcus. “Subjectifying Quality of Life as a Medical Rehabilitation Outcome.” Disability and Rehabilitation 22(11) (2000): 481–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Goffman, Erving. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1963.Google Scholar
  7. Kuczewski, G. Mark. “Disability: An Agenda for Bioethics.” American Journal of Bioethics 1(3) (2001): 36–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Mailhot, Alice. “Bioethics: Introduction to Theories from Hell.” Mouth (Not-Dead-Yet website, www.notdeadyet.org/bioethic.html, 1994.)Google Scholar
  9. Mehlman, Maxwell. “How Will We Regulate Genetic Enhancement?” Wake Fores t Law Review 34 (2001): 672–714.Google Scholar
  10. Satz, Ani, Anita Silvers. “Disability and Biotechnology.” The Encyclopedia of Biotechnology: Ethical, Legal, and Policy Issues. Edited by Maxwell Mehlman and Thomas Murray. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2000.Google Scholar
  11. Silvers, Anita. “A Fatal Attraction to Normalizing: Treating Disabilities as Deviations from 'species-Typical’ Functioning.” Enhancing Human Capacities: Conceptual Complexities and Ethical Implications. Edited by Erik Parens. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1998.Google Scholar
  12. Silvers, Anita. “On Not Iterating Women's Disabilities: A Crossover Perspective on Genetic Dilemmas.” Embodying Bioethics: Feminist Advances. Edited by Anne Donchin and Laura Purdy. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998, pp. 177–202.Google Scholar
  13. Smith, Wesley J. “Is Bioethics Ethical?” The Weekly Standard (April 3, 2000, http://www.petersnet.net/browse/3446.htm).Google Scholar
  14. ten Broek, Jacobus. “The Right to Live in the World: The Disabled in the Law of Torts.” California Law Review 54 (1966): 841–919.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anita Silvers
    • 1
  1. 1.San Francisco State UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations