Preventing the existence of people with disabilities
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
It is commonly held that there are both cases in which there is a strong moral reason not to cause the existence of a disabled person and cases in which, although it would be permissible to cause a disabled person to exist, it would be better not to. Yet many disabled people are affronted by the idea that it is sometimes better to prevent people like themselves from existing, precisely because these people would be disabled. One of their grounds for concern, which will be my particular focus in this paper, is that claiming that there are reasons to prevent the existence of disabled people may be expressive of a demeaning and hurtful view of the status of existing disabled people, a view that may encourage discriminatory attitudes towards and treatment of the disabled. I will contend that there can indeed be moral and prudential reasons for preventing the existence of a disabled person. But I will argue that it is less obvious than many people assume what, if anything, the recognition of these reasons expresses about disabled people. And I will contend that, even if the recognition of these reasons does express a perception of disabled people that is potentially hurtful, this effect could be offset by the social expression of a contrary view that I will claim is in fact compatible with and equally valid as the potentially hurtful view. Whether it may be morally objectionable to cause a disabled person to exist depends, in part, on whether the person’s life would be worth living. If it is ever objectionable to cause a disabled person to exist, the objections are surely strongest when the person’s life would be “worth not living” – that is, would have aspects or features that would be bad for the person and that would decisively outweigh those, if any, that would be good. Such cases are, however, quite rare. Indeed, some people question whether there are any disabilities so severe as to cause life to be worth not living. It can be argued that disability involves only the absence of certain abilities and that mere deficits....
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Timothy Murphy (2011). When Choosing the Traits of Children is Hurtful to Others. Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (2):105-108.
Annette Patterson & Martha Satz (2002). Genetic Counseling and the Disabled: Feminism Examines the Stance of Those Who Stand at the Gate. Hypatia 17 (3):118-142.
Carol J. Gill (2004). Depression in the Context of Disability and the “Right to Die”. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 25 (3):171-198.
Jackie Leach Scully (2010). Hidden Labor: Disabled/Nondisabled Encounters, Agency, and Autonomy. International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 3 (2):25-42.
Sara Goering (2008). 'You Say You're Happy, But…': Contested Quality of Life Judgments in Bioethics and Disability Studies. [REVIEW] Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 5 (2/3):125-135.
Mal Leicester & Pam Cooke (2002). Rights Not Restrictions for Learning Disabled Adults: A Response to Spiecker and Steutel. Journal of Moral Education 31 (2):181-187.
Susan Wendell (1989). Toward a Feminist Theory of Disability. Hypatia 4 (2):104 - 124.
Susan Wendell (2001). Unhealthy Disabled: Treating Chronic Illnesses as Disabilities. Hypatia 16 (4):17-33.
Jeff McMahan (2005). Causing Disabled People to Exist and Causing People to Be Disabled. Ethics 116 (1):77-99.
Added to index2009-02-19
Total downloads12 ( #354,010 of 1,902,527 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?