Implants and ethnocide: learning from the cochlear implant controversy

Robert Sparrow
2010 Disability & Society  
This paper uses the fictional case of the 'Babel fish' to explore and illustrate the issues involved in the controversy about the use of cochlear implants in prelinguistically deaf children. Analysis of this controversy suggests that the development of genetic tests for deafness poses a serious threat to the continued flourishing of Deaf culture. I argue that the relationships between Deaf and hearing cultures that are revealed and constructed in debates about genetic testing are themselves
more » ... are themselves deserving of ethical evaluation. Making good policy about genetic testing for deafness will require addressing questions in political philosophy and anthropology about the value of culture and also thinking hard about what sorts of experiences and achievements make a human life worthwhile.
doi:10.1080/09687591003755849 fatcat:l6emhzxeingp3ld5wlm5nk7xz4