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Durham Research Online
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Disability: a justice-based account

Begon, Jessica (2021) 'Disability: a justice-based account.', Philosophical studies., 178 (3). pp. 935-962.

Abstract

Most people have a clear sense of what they mean by disability, and have little trouble identifying conditions they consider disabling. Yet providing a clear and consistent definition of disability is far from straightforward. Standardly, disability is understood as the restriction in our abilities to perform tasks, as a result of an impairment of normal physical or cognitive human functioning (in combination with our social, political, and environmental context, and our resource share). However, which inabilities matter? We are all restricted by our bodies, and are all incapable of performing some tasks, but most of these inabilities are not considered disabilities. If, then, we are to avoid the category of disability becoming overly broad—and thus politically and practically useless—we need some way of picking out the specific inabilities that are disabling. I argue that our answer should be informed by an account of the opportunities individuals are entitled to be able to perform as a matter of justice. Thus, to be disabled is to have these opportunities restricted, and not to deviate from the species norm or lack any ability that might improve our well-being.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-020-01466-3
Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:03 June 2020
Date of first online publication:18 May 2020
Date first made open access:03 June 2020

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