A discussion of the connection between activism and academia in bioethics, highlighting the author’s own trajectory, exploring the extent to which academics have an obliation to be ‘judges’ rather than ‘barristers’ (as explored by Jonathan Haidt) and asking questions about the relationship of disability to positions in bioethics.
This article explores the Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ recent report about non-invasive prenatal testing. Given that such testing is likely to become the norm, it is important to question whether there should be some ethical parameters regarding its use. The article engages with the viewpoints of Jeff McMahan, Julian Savulescu, Stephen Wilkinson and other commentators on prenatal ethics. The authors argue that there are a variety of moral considerations that legitimately play a significant role with regard to (prospective) parental decision-making (...) in the context of NIPT, for example, views on the morality of abortion and understandings of the impact of disability on quality of life. The variable nature of such considerations, both singularly and combined, suggests that any approach to NIPT should be sensitive to and understanding of similarly variable parental assessments and decisions. The implications of the approach developed for current and future policies in this area are explored, along with the impact of such arguments on ideas about procreative beneficence. (shrink)
In the helpful article “Why Bioethics Needs a Disability Moral Psychology,” Joseph Stramondo adds to the critique of actually existing bioethics and explains why disability activists and scholars so often find fault with the arguments of bioethicists. He is careful not to stereotype either community—rightly, given that bioethicists endorse positions as disparate as utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, and feminist ethics, among others. Although Stramondo never explicitly mentions utilitarians or liberals, it seems probable that these are the main targets of his (...) discontent. The disability community, as he concedes, is also a broad church. Yet for this reason, I do not believe that you can read off positions on bioethics questions from either disability embodiment or disability organization affiliation. (shrink)
The advent of prenatal screening technologies has neatly paralleled the evolution of disability rightsDisability rights. During the 1970s and 1980s, the disability movement in many countries campaigned for barrier removal, better provision and recognition.
This article discusses the different contexts in which disabled people encounter and deploy humour, both as victims and as agents, and provides examples. It raises questions about identity and audience and interpretation and about embodiment itself.
This paper responds to the reviews by Edwards, Holm, Koch, Thomas and Vehmas of Disability Rights and Wrongs . After summarising the recent history of disability studies as a discipline, it explores: the political nature of disability research, questions of ontology and definition, and the uses and abuses of the expressivist argument. Disability is an emerging field of enquiry and constructive debate is to be welcomed.