What Makes Disability Discrimination Wrong?

Law and Philosophy 40 (1):1-31 (2021)
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This paper concerns the question of what makes disability discrimination morally objectionable. When I refer to disability discrimination, I am focusing solely on a failure or denial of reasonable accommodations to a disabled person. I argue a failure to provide reasonable accommodations is wrong when and because it violates principles of relational equality. To do so, I examine four accounts of wrongful discrimination found in the literature and apply these theories to disability discrimination. I argue that all of these accounts leave us wanting because they have implausible implications or other limitations. I then defend my relational egalitarian theory of wrongful disability discrimination. I argue why principles of relational equality can explain the wrongness of failing to accommodate a disabled person. I will then illustrate how my account can identify plausible instances of disability discrimination while avoiding implausible implications. Finally, I discuss some further complications with my account while highlighting its benefits. Importantly, my argument can capture the distinctive wrongness of disability law and policy’s reasonable accommodation mandates.



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Jeff Brown
University of Northern Colorado

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Bodily Rights in Personal Ventilators?Sean Aas & David Wasserman - 2021 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 39 (1):73-86.

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