On the possibility and desirability of constructing a neutral conception of disability

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 24 (6):471-487 (2003)

Anita Silvers
San Francisco State University
Disagreement about the properattitude toward disability proliferates. Yetlittle attention has been paid to an importantmeta-question, namely, whether ``disability'' isan essentially contested concept. If so, recentdebates between bioethicists and the disabilitymovement leadership cannot be resolved. Inthis essay I identify some of the presumptionsthat make their encounters so contentious. Much more must happen, I argue, for anydiscussions about disability policy andpolitics to be productive. Progress depends onconstructing a neutral conception ofdisability, one that neither devaluesdisability nor implies that persons withdisabilities are inadequate. So, first, I clearaway the conceptual underbrush that makes usthink our idea of disability must bevalue-laden. Second, I sketch someconstituents of, and constraints upon, aneutral notion of disability.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Ethics   Philosophy of Medicine   General Surgery   History of Medicine
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/B:META.0000006924.82156.5b
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 41,583
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Feminism and Disability.Joel Michael Reynolds & Anita Silvers - 2007 - In Carol Hay (ed.), Philosophy: Feminism. Macmillan Reference USA. pp. 295-316.
Vorsprung Durch Technik: On Biotechnology, Bioethics, and Its Beneficiaries.Nicky Priaulx - 2011 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 20 (2):174-184.
Disability and Justice.Christie Hartley - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (2):120-132.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
146 ( #49,329 of 2,249,264 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
18 ( #44,031 of 2,249,264 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature