When Persons with Special Needs Really Aren't Very Special: Leaving Homo Economicus Behind and Getting Everyone What We All Equally Deserve
19 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2015
Date Written: April 8, 2015
The Philosopher Aristotle once said that, a little error in the beginning leads to a distortion of massive proportions in the end. He had geometry in mind when he said that. His famous commentator, Saint Thomas Aquinas, echoed that same warning when beginning his important metaphysical text, On Being and Essence. I believe that that warning holds true, for philosophical anthropology. Particularly, when we think falsely about the human being, and then extend those errors by way of their implications in social and educational arenas. What we think about the creature that we are, can have all kinds of implications for how we treat it, and how we think it deserves to be so treated, or not at all. In this seminar, I want to reflect on the likely theoretical and social conditions that could have distorted our vision of what and who man is, and how that leads us to think of persons with special needs as a special category, deserving special treatment. I want to argue that they don't. I will end off with exploratory practical suggestions for how we can secure the standard treatment that persons with special needs deserve.
Keywords: homo economicus, natural law theory, human rights, special needs, work, philosophical anthropology
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