Some Virtues of Disability

Authors
Adam Cureton
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Abstract
When we encounter people with disabilities in our everyday lives, we may sincerely wonder how (if at all) we ought to help them. Our concern in these ordinary contexts is typically not about securing basic justice. We want to know instead, as a matter of interpersonal morality, when and how it is appropriate for us to open a door for a wheelchair user, to pick up a dropped napkin for her, or to engage her in conversation about her condition. When we do try to give help, we can be surprised and hurt by the cold reception we receive for our efforts. It is worth considering, therefore, how the attitudes of someone who is sincerely trying to help can nonetheless be less than ideal and what kinds of attitudes a disabled person should have toward herself and those who are trying to provide assistance to her. In this paper, I characterize some common attitudes about people with disabilities, explain how conscientious people of good will could come to have them, and then argue that these attitudes are less than ideal because they are incompatible with the virtues of respect, acceptance, and appreciation.
Keywords Disability  Ethics  Respect
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ISBN(s) 0739-098X
DOI 10.5840/ijap201561740
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