Beyond (Models of) Disability?

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 41: 210-228, 2016, DOI: 10.1093/jmp/jhv063

19 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2014 Last revised: 11 Jun 2018

See all articles by Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry

Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry

McGill University - Faculty of Law; McGill University - Institute for Health and Social Policy

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

The strategy of developing an ontology or models of disability as a prior step to settling ethical issues regarding disabilities is highly problematic, for two reasons. First, key definitional aspects of disability are normative, and cannot helpfully be made value-neutral. Second, if we accept that the contested concept of disability is value-laden, it is far from obvious that there are definitive reasons for opting for an interpretation of the concept over another. I conclude that the concept of disability is better left ethically open-ended or broad enough to encompass the examination of various ethical issues (such as oppression, minority rights or physical discomfort). Alternatively, the concept of disability could be altogether abandoned in order to focus on specific issues without being hindered by debates about the nature of disability. Only political costs, rather than conceptual considerations internal to the models, could be weighed against such a conclusion.

Keywords: Disability; Social Model; Essentially Contested Concept

Suggested Citation

Beaudry, Jonas-Sébastien, Beyond (Models of) Disability? (2014). Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 41: 210-228, 2016, DOI: 10.1093/jmp/jhv063 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2418431 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2418431

Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec
Canada

McGill University - Institute for Health and Social Policy ( email )

Charles Meredith House
1130 Pine Avenue West
Montreal, Quebec H3A1A3
Canada

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