Social Philosophy Today 21:237-246 (2005)

The term “disability” may be used narrowly or broadly to identify conditions that impede an individual’s ability to function or flourish. I argue that a broad definition is both epistemologically and ethically preferable to a narrow one. Only if we recognize that all human beings embody disabilities as well as abilities is justice and respect for the autonomy of those who fit the narrow definition possible. A liability of the broad definition, however, is its risk of masking differences that need to be addressed explicitly if justice is to be maximized. To address this liability, I propose “standpoint theory,” a strategy supported by classical pragmatists and feminist authors who recognize the inevitable myopia of all of us. I conclude with an application of standpoint theory to a specific disability: cognitive impairment
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Social and Political Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 1543-4044
DOI 10.5840/socphiltoday2005215
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