A Moorean argument for the full moral status of those with profound intellectual disability

Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (1):41-45 (2016)
Benjamin L. Curtis
Nottingham Trent University
This paper is about the moral status of those human beings with profound intellectual disabilities (PIDs). We hold the common sense view that they have equal status to ‘normal’ human beings, and a higher status than any non-human animal. We start with an admission, however: we don’t know how to give a fully satisfying theoretical account of the grounds of moral status that explains this view. And in fact, not only do we not know how to give such an account, but the most satisfying account of moral status that we know (which we call ‘the standard account’) entails that our view is false. It entails that those with PIDs have a lower status than ordinary human beings and an equal status to non-human animals. Now, in this paper, we do absolutely nothing to try to show where the standard account goes wrong, and we do absolutely nothing to resolve the difficulties we see in developing an alternative account that supports our view. Indeed, we do not give any argument against the standard account or in favour of our own view. Instead, we raise the following question: in order to be justified in continuing to hold our view, are we obliged to give such an account? Our answer will be that we are not.
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2015-102938
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References found in this work BETA

Practical Ethics.Peter Singer - 1979 - Cambridge University Press.
Abortion and Infanticide.Michael Tooley - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 2 (1):37-65.

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Citations of this work BETA

Profound Intellectual Disability and the Bestowment View of Moral Status.Simo Vehmas & Benjamin Curtis - 2017 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 26 (3):505-516.

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