Dismantling the Disability/Handicap Distinction

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 22 (6):589-606 (1997)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper discusses the distinction between disability and handicap as it is proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in their publication International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps (WHO, 1993 (first published, 1980)). Following criticism of this an attempt to salvage the distinction by Nordenfelt (1993, 1983) is discussed. It is argued that neither the WHO nor Nordenfelt are successful in their attempts to preserve the distinction between disability and handicap in a theoretically wellmotivated manner. Contrary to the WHO, it is argued that what they term ‘disabilities’ and ‘handicaps’ both have external causes. And contrary to Nordenfelt's position it is shown that “basic actions” do not provide a firm theoretical foundation for the concept of disability. Moreover, the criticisms of these two sets of views reveal that attempts to describe the phenomenon of disablement which focus on the individual suffer from a serious methodological shortcoming



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 93,127

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Importance of a Disability/Handicap Distinction.L. Nordenfelt - 1997 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 22 (6):607-622.
Nordenfelt's theory of disability.Steven D. Edwards - 1998 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 19 (1):89-100.
On disability and illness. A reply to Edwards.Lennart Nordenfelt - 1999 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 20 (2):181-189.
Impairment, disability and handicap--old fashioned concepts?R. B. Jones - 2001 - Journal of Medical Ethics 27 (6):377-379.
Classification des handicaps : enjeux et controverses.Véronique Lespinet-Najib & Christian Belio - 2013 - Hermès: La Revue Cognition, communication, politique 66 (2):, [ p.].
What is a Psychiatric Disability?Abraham Rudnick - 2014 - Health Care Analysis 22 (2):105-113.


Added to PP

50 (#327,457)

6 months
24 (#121,857)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Stephen David Edwards
University of Zululand

Citations of this work

Add more citations