Practical Ethics and the Principle of Merit: Implications to Disability Rights


The merit system is based on a person’s ability to achieve. The concept of merit hence rejects a process that awards any particular entitlement explicitly based on disability. Brian Barry says that under the merit principle, people can compete for positions or advantage. This paper argues that the idea of merit, as explained by Barry, is unjust. Iris Marion Young points out that a person with cognitive disability faces a different situation compared to other people. Under normal circumstances, persons can have skills that enable them to do things with ease, something that is not readily available to individuals with autism or Asperger’s syndrome. The problem is also exacerbated by policies that do not recognize the diverse needs of individuals with impairment. In this regard, practical ethics demands that a law or national policy must ensure a level playing field for everyone.

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Christopher Ryan Maboloc
Ateneo de Davao University

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