In Defense of Madness: The Problem of Disability

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 44 (2) (2019)
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Abstract

At a time when different groups in society are achieving notable gains in respect and rights, activists in mental health and proponents of mad positive approaches, such as Mad Pride, are coming up against considerable challenges. A particular issue is the commonly held view that madness is inherently disabling and cannot form the grounds for identity or culture. This paper responds to the challenge by developing two bulwarks against the tendency to assume too readily the view that madness is inherently disabling: the first arises from the normative nature of disability judgements, and the second from the implications of political activism in terms of being a social subject. In the process of arguing for these two bulwarks, the paper explores the basic structure of the social model of disability in the context of debates on naturalism and normativism; the applicability of the social model to madness; and the difference between physical and mental disabilities in terms of the unintelligibility often attributed to the latter.

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Mohammed Rashed
Birkbeck College

References found in this work

A rebuttal on health.Christopher Boorse - 1997 - In James M. Humber & Robert F. Almeder (eds.), What is Disease? Humana Press. pp. 1--134.
Against normal function.Ron Amundson - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 31 (1):33-53.
What is it to be healthy?E. Kingma - 2007 - Analysis 67 (2):128-133.

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