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Joel Michael Reynolds
Georgetown University
  1. Against Personal Ventilator Reallocation.Joel Michael Reynolds, Laura Guidry-Grimes & Katie Savin - 2020 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 30 (2):272-284.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has led to intense conversations about ventilator allocation and reallocation during a crisis standard of care. Multiple voices in the media and multiple state guidelines mention reallocation as a possibility. Drawing upon a range of neuroscientific, phenomenological, ethical, and sociopolitical considerations, the authors argue that taking away someone’s personal ventilator is a direct assault on their bodily and social integrity. They conclude that personal ventilators should not be part of reallocation pools and that triage protocols should be (...)
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  2. The Harm of Ableism: Medical Error and Epistemic Injustice.David M. Peña-Guzmán & Joel Michael Reynolds - 2019 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 29 (3):205-242.
    This paper argues that epistemic errors rooted in group- or identity- based biases, especially those pertaining to disability, are undertheorized in the literature on medical error. After sketching dominant taxonomies of medical error, we turn to the field of social epistemology to understand the role that epistemic schemas play in contributing to medical errors that disproportionately affect patients from marginalized social groups. We examine the effects of this unequal distribution through a detailed case study of ableism. There are four primary (...)
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  3. “What If There's Something Wrong with Her?”‐How Biomedical Technologies Contribute to Epistemic Injustice in Healthcare.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2020 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 58 (1):161-185.
    While there is a steadily growing literature on epistemic injustice in healthcare, there are few discussions of the role that biomedical technologies play in harming patients in their capacity as knowers. Through an analysis of newborn and pediatric genetic and genomic sequencing technologies (GSTs), I argue that biomedical technologies can lead to epistemic injustice through two primary pathways: epistemic capture and value partitioning. I close by discussing the larger ethical and political context of critical analyses of GSTs and their broader (...)
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  4.  91
    Disability Rights as a Necessary Framework for Crisis Standards of Care and the Future of Health Care.Laura Guidry-Grimes, Katie Savin, Joseph A. Stramondo, Joel Michael Reynolds, Marina Tsaplina, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Angela Ballantyne, Eva Feder Kittay, Devan Stahl, Jackie Leach Scully, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Anita Tarzian, Doron Dorfman & Joseph J. Fins - 2020 - Hastings Center Report 50 (3):28-32.
    In this essay, we suggest practical ways to shift the framing of crisis standards of care toward disability justice. We elaborate on the vision statement provided in the 2010 Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Medicine) “Summary of Guidance for Establishing Crisis Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations,” which emphasizes fairness; equitable processes; community and provider engagement, education, and communication; and the rule of law. We argue that interpreting these elements through disability justice entails a commitment to both (...)
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  5. Merleau-Ponty, World-Creating Blindness, and the Phenomenology of Non-Normate Bodies.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2017 - Chiasmi International: Trilingual Studies Concerning Merleau-Ponty's Thought 19:419-434.
    An increasing number of scholars at the intersection of feminist philosophy and critical disability studies have turned to Merleau-Ponty to develop phenomenologies of disability or of what, following Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, I call "non-normate" embodiment. These studies buck the historical trend of philosophers employing disability as an example of deficiency or harm, a mere litmus test for normative theories, or an umbrella term for aphenotypical bodily variation. While a Merleau-Pontian-inspired phenomenology is a promising starting point for thinking about embodied experiences of (...)
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  6. The Extended Body: On Aging, Disability, and Well‐Being.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2018 - Hastings Center Report 48 (S3):S31-S36.
    Insofar as many older adults fit some definition of disability, disability studies and gerontology would seem to have common interests and goals. However, there has been little discussion between these fields. The aim of this paper is to open up the insights of disability studies as well as philosophy of disability to discussions in gerontology. In doing so, I hope to contribute to thinking about the good life in late life by more critically reflecting upon the meaning of the body, (...)
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  7. The Ableism of Quality of Life Judgments in Disorders of Consciousness: Who Bears Epistemic Responsibility?Joel Michael Reynolds - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 7 (1):59-61.
    In this peer commentary on L. Syd M. Johnson’s “Inference and Inductive Risk in Disorders of Consciousness,” I argue for the necessity of disability education as an integral component of decision-making processes concerning patients with DOC and, mutatis mutandis, all patients with disabilities. The sole qualification Johnson places on such decision-making is that stakeholders are educated about and “understand the uncertainties of diagnosis and prognosis.” Drawing upon research in philosophy of disability, social epistemology, and health psychology, I argue that this (...)
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  8.  53
    Disability and the Problem of Suffering.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (8):547-547.
    I am grateful to Philip Reed for his article ‘Expressivism at the Beginning and End of Life’. His piece compellingly demonstrates the import of expanding analyses concerning the expressivist thesis beyond the reproductive sphere to the end-of-life sphere. I hope that his intervention spurns further work on this connection. In what follows, I want to focus on what I take to be moments of slippage in his use of the concept of disability, a slippage to which many disability theorists succumb. (...)
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  9.  70
    Renewing Medicine’s Basic Concepts: On Ambiguity.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2018 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 13 (1):8.
    In this paper, I argue that the concept of normality in medical research and clinical practice is inextricable from the concept of ambiguity. I make this argument in the context of Edmund Pellegrino's call for a renewed reflection on medicine’s basic concepts and by drawing on work in critical disability studies concerning Deafness and body integrity identity disorder. If medical practitioners and philosophers of medicine wish to improve their understanding of the meaning of medicine as well as its concrete practice, (...)
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  10. “I’D Rather Be Dead Than Disabled”—The Ableist Conflation and the Meanings of Disability.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2017 - Review of Communication 17 (3):149-63.
    Despite being assailed for decades by disability activists and disability studies scholars spanning the humanities and social sciences, the medical model of disability—which conceptualizes disability as an individual tragedy or misfortune due to genetic or environmental insult—still today structures many cases of patient–practitioner communication. Synthesizing and recasting work done across critical disability studies and philosophy of disability, I argue that the reason the medical model of disability remains so gallingly entrenched is due to what I call the “ableist conflation” of (...)
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  11. Feminism and Disability.Joel Michael Reynolds & Anita Silvers - 2017 - In Carol Hay (ed.), Philosophy: Feminism. Macmillan Reference USA. pp. 295-316.
    The article introduces readers to the study of disability, both with respect to the interdisciplinary field of disability studies and the field of philosophy of disability. We then offer an overview of three central areas of philosophical inquiry where feminist work in philosophy and disability has made significant contributions: (1) metaphysics and ontology, (2) epistemology and phenomenology, and (3) ethical, social, and political philosophy.
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  12. The Meaning of Ability and Disability.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2019 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 33 (3):434-447.
    Disability has been a topic in multiple areas of philosophical scholarship for decades. However, it is only in the last ten to fifteen years that philosophy of disability has increasingly become recognized as a distinct field. In this paper, I argue that the foundational question of continental philosophy of disability is the question of the meaning of ability. Engaging a range of canonical texts across the Western intellectual tradition, I argue that the foundational question of continental philosophy of disability is (...)
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  13. Toward a Critical Theory of Harm: Ableism, Normativity, and Transability (BIID).Joel Michael Reynolds - 2016 - APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Medicine 16 (1):37-45.
    Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) is a very rare condition describing those with an intense desire or need to move from a state of ability to relative impairment, typically through the amputation of one or more limbs. In this paper, I draw upon research in critical disability studies and philosophy of disability to critique arguments based upon the principle of nonmaleficence against such surgery. I demonstrate how the action-relative concept of harm in such arguments relies upon suspect notions of biological (...)
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  14.  66
    Infotality: On Living, Loving, and Dying Through Information.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2018 - American Journal of Bioethics 18 (2):33-35.
    Responding to Danaher et al. on self-tracking technologies, I argue that human lived experience is becoming increasingly mediated by generalized, statistical information, which I term our "infotality." Drawing on the work of Foucault, I argue that infotality is historically novel and best understood as the product of biopolitics, healthism, and informatics. I then critique the authors' "stance of cautious openness,” which misunderstands the aims of the technology in question and the fundamental ambiguity of the role information plays in the achievement (...)
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  15.  7
    Against Personal Ventilator Reallocation—ADDENDUM.Joel Michael Reynolds, Laura Guidry-Grimes & Katie Savin - 2021 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 30 (2):403-403.
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  16. Infinite Responsibility in the Bedpan: Response Ethics, Care Ethics, and the Phenomenology of Caregiving.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2016 - Hypatia 31 (4):779-794.
    Drawing upon the practice of caregiving and the insights of feminist care ethics, I offer a phenomenology of caregiving through the work of Eva Feder Kittay and Emmanuel Lévinas. I argue that caregiving is a material dialectic of embodied response involving moments of leveling, attention, and interruption. In this light, the Levinasian opposition between responding to another's singularity and leveling it via parity-based principles is belied in the experience of care. Contra much of response ethics’ and care ethics’ respective literatures, (...)
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  17.  85
    Moving Through Capacity Space: Mapping Disability and Enhancement.Nicholas Greig Evans, Joel Michael Reynolds & Kaylee R. Johnson - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 9 (6):medethics-2019-105732.
    In this paper, we highlight some problems for accounts of disability and enhancement that have not been sufficiently addressed in the literature. The reason, we contend, is that contemporary debates that seek to define, characterise or explain the normative valence of disability and enhancement do not pay sufficient attention to a wide range of cases, and the transition between one state and another. In section one, we provide seven cases that might count as disability or enhancement. We explain why each (...)
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  18.  92
    Ableism and Ageism: Insights From Disability Studies for Aging Studies.Joel Michael Reynolds & Anna Landre - manuscript
    [This piece is written for those working in social gerontology and aging studies, with the aim of bringing insights from disability studies and philosophy of disability to bear on enduring debates in those fields.] The guiding question of humanistic age-studies—What does it mean to grow old?—cannot be answered without reflecting on disability. This is not simply because growing old invariably means becoming impaired in various ways, but also because the discriminations and stigmas involved in ageism are often rooted in ableism. (...)
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  19.  6
    Bioethics as Care Work. [REVIEW]Joel Michael Reynolds - 2018 - Hastings Center Report 48 (1):inside front cover-inside front.
    [Excerpt]: German philosopher Martin Heidegger argued that humans are defined by care. The term he used, “Sorge,” picks out a wide range of caring relations, including sorrow, worry, the making of arrangements, and even fending for another. Since coming to The Hastings Center, I've been struck by the genuine care definitive of its scholars’ relationship to their work. Care about newborns, the elderly, and nonhuman animals. Care about doctors, nurses, and health care institutions. Care expressed in the panoply of ways (...)
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  20.  66
    Being Better Bodies. [REVIEW]Joel Michael Reynolds - 2017 - Hastings Center Report 47 (6):46-47.
    [Excerpt]: Bioethics has an uneasy relationship with embodiment. Only with vigilance does knowledge of the body as it is lived counterbalance the momentous inertia of knowledge of the body as an object brought about by modern medical sciences. As a field tethered to detached, technical ways of knowing the world, bioethics must toil to treat the body as more than mere material and machine. To be more is, among other things, to be social—to live in the thickets of interdependence and (...)
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  21. Conditioning Principles: On Bioethics and The Problem of Ableism.Joel Michael Reynolds - forthcoming - In Elizabeth Victor & Laura Guidry Grimes (eds.), Applying Nonideal Theory to Bioethics: Living and Dying in a Nonideal World. Springer.
    This paper has two goals. The first is to argue that the field of bioethics in general and the literature on ideal vs. nonideal theory in particular has underemphasized a primary problem for normative theorizing: the role of conditioning principles. I define these as principles that implicitly or explicitly ground, limit, or otherwise determine the construction and function of other principles, and, as a result, profoundly impact concept formation, perception, judgment, and action, et al. The second is to demonstrate that (...)
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  22. Ableism and Social Epistemology.Joel Michael Reynolds & Kevin Timpe - forthcoming - In Jennifer Lackey & Aidan McGlynn (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Social Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This chapter canvases a number of ways that issues surrounding disability intersect with social epistemology, particularly how dominate norms concerning communication and ability can epistemically disadvantage some disabled individuals. We begin with a discussion of how social epistemology as a field and debates concerning epistemic injustice in particular fail to take the problem of ableism seriously. In section two, we analyze the concept of an individual’s “knowledge capacity,” arguing that it can easily misconstrue the extended, social nature of both knowledge (...)
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  23. Disability and White Supremacy.Joel Michael Reynolds - forthcoming - Critical Philosophy of Race.
    It is widely known that Black people are significantly more likely to be killed by the police in the United States of America than white people. What is less widely known is that nearly half of all people killed by the police are disabled people. The aim of this paper is to better understand the intersection of racism and ableism in the USA. Contributing to the growing literature at the intersection of philosophy of disability and critical philosophy of race, I (...)
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  24.  20
    Dangerous Discourses of Disability, Subjectivity and Sexuality by Margrit Shildrick. [REVIEW]Joel Michael Reynolds - 2018 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 11 (1):162-167.
    [Excerpt]: In the nonideal world against which philosophical ideas and ideals are tried, suffering is distributed unequally. A central, if not defining, question for many late-twentieth-century feminist ethicists is how and why so many forms of suffering are distributed by virtue of bodily difference. For over four decades, disability studies, a multidisciplinary field spanning the humanities and social sciences, has principally revolved around a basic question: is the concept of "disability" constructed like "race," "gender," or "sexuality"? In other words, is (...)
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  25.  41
    Feeding Upon Death: Pain, Possibility, and Transformation in S. Kay Toombs and Kafka's The Vulture.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2014 - In Florian Steger & Bettina von Jagow (eds.), Jahrbuch Literatur und Medizin. Universitätsverlag Winter. pp. 135-54.
    In this paper, I argue that clinically-oriented practical and theoretical approaches to the problem of pain should more carefully heed narrative and phenomenological research. I begin with the work of S. Kay Toombs, contending that her phenomenological account of multiple sclerosis demonstrates how a degenerative condition attendant with pain ultimately effect a constriction of one’s world. Drawing upon two of artist Yosl Bergner’s depictions of the story, I then present a reading of Kafka’s “The Vulture” as a literary account of (...)
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  26.  85
    Genopower: On Genomics, Disability, and Impairment.Joel Michael Reynolds - forthcoming - Foucault Studies.
    Since the completion of the human genome project in 2003, genomic sequencing, analysis, and interpretation have become staples of research in medicine and the life sciences more generally. While much ink has been spilled concerning genomics’ precipitous rise, there is little agreement among scholars concerning its meaning, both in general and with respect to our current moment. Some claim genomics is neither new, nor noteworthy; others claim it is a novel and worrisome instrument of contemporary, liberal “velvet eugenics.” Contrary to (...)
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  27. Health and Other Reveries: Homo Curare, Homo Faber, and the Realization of Care.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2022 - In Talia Welch & Susan Bredlau (eds.), Normality, Abnormality, and Pathology in Merleau-Ponty. New York, NY, USA: SUNY Press.
    Merleau-Ponty claims that the idea of objective knowledge is supported by "our reveries." My aim in this paper is to explore this argument with respect to the idea of health. As a case study, I focus on bioethical issues surrounding return of results of incidental variants with respect to the use of genetic and genomic screening technologies (GSTs) in newborn and pediatric contexts. Drawing on a range of Merleau-Ponty’s texts, I argue that this case suggests the modern idea of health (...)
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  28.  99
    Heidegger, Embodiment, And Disability.Joel Michael Reynolds - forthcoming - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy.
    Most interpretations of Heidegger’s reflections on the body maintain that—whether early, middle, or late in the Gesamtausgabe—Dasein’s or the mortal’s openness to being/beyng is the ground of the fleshly or bodily (das Leibliche), but not the reverse. In this paper, I argue that there is evidence from Heidegger’s own oeuvre demonstrating that this relationship is instead mutually reciprocal. That is to say, I contend that corporeal variability is constitutive of Dasein’s openness to being just as Dasein’s openness to being is (...)
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  29.  17
    Health for Whom? Bioethics and the Challenge of Justice for Genomic Medicine.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2020 - Hastings Center Report 50 (S1):S2-S5.
    The guiding premise from which this special report begins is the conviction and hope that justice is at the normative heart of medicine and that it is the perpetual task of bioethics to bring concerns of justice to bear on medical practice. On such an account, justice is medicine's lifeblood, that by which it contributes to life as opposed to diminishing it. It is in this larger, historical, intersectional, critical, and ethically minded context that we must approach pressing questions facing (...)
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  30. Killing in the Name of Care.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2018 - Levinas Studies 12:141-164.
    On 26 July 2016, Satoshi Uematsu murdered 19 and injured 26 at a caregiving facility in Sagamihara, Japan, making it the country’s worst mass killing since WWII. In this article, I offer an analysis of the Sagamihara 19 massacre. I draw on the work of Julia Kristeva and Emmanuel Levinas to argue that claims about disability experience are insufficient to justify normative projects. In short, disability is normatively ambiguous.
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  31.  61
    Reforming Informed Consent: On Disability and Genetic Counseling.Elizabeth Dietz & Joel Michael Reynolds - forthcoming - In Michael J. Deem, Emily Farrow & Robin Grubs (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Genetic Counseling. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Informed consent is a central concept for empirical and theoretical research concerning pregnancy management decisions and is often taken to be one of the more fundamental goals of the profession of genetic counseling. Tellingly, this concept has been seen by disability communities as salutary, despite longstanding critiques made by disability activists, advocates, and scholars concerning practices involved in genetic counseling more generally. In this chapter, we show that the widespread faith in informed consent is misleading and can be detrimental to (...)
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  32.  4
    The Carcerality of Ability.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2021 - Theory and Event 24 (2):625-630.
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  33. Three Things Clinicians Should Know About Disability.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2018 - AMA Journal of Ethics 12 (20):E1181-1187.
    The historical relationship between health care professionals and people with disabilities is fraught, a fact all the more troubling in light of the distinctive roles clinicians play in both establishing and responding to that which is considered normal or abnormal by society at large. Those who wish to improve their clinical practice might struggle, however, to keep up with developments across numerous disability communities as well as the ever-growing body of disability studies scholarship. To assist with this goal, I offer (...)
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