Giubilini and Minerva ask why birth should be a critical dividing line between acceptable and unacceptable reasons for terminating existence. Their argument is that birth does not change moral status in the sense that is relevant: the ability to be harmed by interruption of one's aims. Rather than question the plausibility of their position or the argument they give, we ask instead about the importance to scholarship or policy of publishing the article: does it to any extent make a novel (...) or needed addition to the literature? Giubilini and Minerva's argument is remarkably similar to one advanced by Michael Tooley in ‘Abortion and Infanticide,’ almost 40 years ago. There have been immense changes in the intervening 40 years: in the ability to diagnose conditions early in pregnancy, in genetics and in the availability of in vitro fertilization; in understanding of the capabilities of persons with disabilities; in law; in economic support and access to healthcare for pregnant women and their children; in social customs and arrangements; and even in philosophy, with developments in feminist thought, bioethics and cognitive science. Some of these changes have been for the better, but others, such as the unravelling of social safety nets, have arguably been for the worse. Any or all of these changes might give rise to moral reasons for the relevance of birth that were not available 40 years ago. These changes might also be relevant to the identification of cases, if any, in which ‘after-birth abortion’ might be considered. If context is relevant to the applicability of moral reasons—as for theorists of justice in the non-idealised world it surely should be—it is questionable whether a view of the birth-line that ignores contextualising change can be adequate. (shrink)
The Blackwell Guide to Medical Ethics is a guide to the complex literature written on the increasingly dense topic of ethics in relation to the new technologies of medicine. Examines the key ethical issues and debates which have resulted from the rapid advances in biomedical technology Brings together the leading scholars from a wide range of disciplines, including philosophy, medicine, theology and law, to discuss these issues Tackles such topics as ending life, patient choice, selling body parts, resourcing and confidentiality (...) Organized with a coherent structure that differentiates between the decisions of individuals and those of social policy. (shrink)
To some students with disabilities who take philosophy classes, and even to some professors with disabilities who teach philosophy, the discipline is not welcoming. Philosophical theory traditionally recognizes so-called normal people and common modes of functioning but seems to ignore or disparage biologically anomalous individuals. The adequacy of our epistemological and ethical philosophies is a pressing reason for us to acknowledge disability in philosophical theorizing. And there are equally pressing reasons to acknowledge that students with various kinds of disabilities are (...) members of our classes. In this special issue of Teaching Philosophy the authors reflect on how disability is engaged with in their philosophy classrooms for and by their students, and in the philosophy they teach. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Because medicine can preserve and restore health and function, it has been widely acknowledged as a basic good that a just society should provide its members. Yet there is wide disagreement over the scope of what is to be provided, to whom, how, when and why. In this uniquely comprehensive book some of the best-known philosophers, doctors, lawyers, political scientists, and economists writing on the subject discuss the concerns and deepen our understanding of the theoretical and practical issues that run (...) through the contemporary debate. The first section lays a broad theoretical basis for understanding the subject of justice, particularly as it relates to the distribution of health care. The second section critically examines how medical care is distributed in different countries around the world and the particular advantages and injustices associated with those systems. The third section draws attention to the special needs of different social groups and the specific issues of justice that are raised by the impact of various policies on health care distribution. The concluding section delves into the dilemmas that confront those designing health care systems - the politics, the priorities, and the place of desires as opposed to needs in a socially just scheme. (shrink)
The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act enacted a conceptual shift in the meaning of ‘disability.’ Rather than defining ‘disability’ as a disadvantageous physical or mental deficit of persons, it codifies the understanding of ‘disability’ as a defective state of society which disadvantages these persons. In contrast, the standard medical model incorrectly conceptualizes disabled persons as biologically inferior, and thus confines them to the role of recipients of benevolence or care. Turning to an ethic of caring yields counter-intuitive results that conflict (...) with the conceptual apparatus of the ADA. It is argued that in order to liberate social thought from this medical model and thus move the disabled from being socially marginalized to being socially enabled, one must re-conceptualize current practice by adopting the ADA's conceptual framework. Keywords: caring, disability, equality, ethics, health care polic CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
A feminist ethics that bases morality on dependence or vulnerability challenges the moral priority of uniform over disparate treatment. Persons with disabilities resist equality's homogenization of moral personhood. But displacing equality in favor of caring or trust reprises the repression of those already marginalized. The ethics of difference proves an ineffective remedy for the negative consequences attendant on how historically marginalized groups are different. An historicized conception of equality resolves the dilemma.