Is it Bad to Be Disabled?

Vuko Andric, Joachim Wundisch
2017 Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy  
This paper examines the impact of disability on wellbeing and presents arguments against the mere-difference view of disability. According to the mere-difference view, disability does not by itself make disabled people worse off on balance. Rather, if disability has a negative impact on wellbeing overall, this is only so because society is not treating disabled people the way it ought to treat them. In objection to the mere-difference view, it has been argued, roughly, that the view licenses
more » ... permissibility of causing disability and the impermissibility of causing nondisability. In her recent article, "Valuing Disability, Causing Disability" (2014), Elizabeth Barnes attempts to show that this causation-based objection does not succeed. We disagree and argue why. We begin by explaining that in order to defeat the causation-based objection it does not suffice to show that it is not always true that the mere-difference view licenses causing disability. Rather, license in some cases, in a way that undermines the plausibility of the mere-difference view, would be sufficient for the causation-based objection to succeed. Then our discussion turns to an important challenge for proponents of the causation-based objection: Some defenders of the mere-difference view are prepared to simply accept the counterintuitive implications of their position. A dialogue with such proponents of the mere-difference view requires arguments with independent traction. We present several such arguments to the effect that the mere-difference view needs to be significantly reduced in scope – and may turn out to be false altogether.
doi:10.26556/jesp.v9i3.93 fatcat:f33izj62cnflbpwcly3xguck74