Intellectual Disability, Dehumanization, and the Fate of “the Human”

Journal of Philosophy of Disability 3:47-70 (2023)
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Abstract

Dehumanization Studies is a burgeoning field that has much to teach Critical Disability Studies and philosophers of disability. Conversely, a critical disability perspective can inform and challenge theoretical approaches to dehumanization. This paper attempts to forge a conversation between these interdisciplinary areas by exploring the phenomenon of dehumanization in relation to people with intellectual disabilities. It begins with a definition of disability dehumanization, and then explores the ways in which this form of dehumanization functions dynamically at multiple levels, drawing from the history of ID and contemporary examples in moral philosophy. Ultimately it argues that it is essential to recognize the moral relevance of being human in order to challenge and prevent forms of disability dehumanization and de­fends this idea in the face of two objections (speciesism and posthumanism).

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