Acting Toward Social Change
Edited By David J. Connor, Jan W. Valle and Chris Hale
1. Exploring Some Moral Dimensions of the Social Model of Disability
Years of debate about the epistemological and ontological status of disability have ensued since the face-off between the long dominant medical versus the insurgent social models of disability (See for example: Anastasiou & Kauffman, 2010, 2011). In the midst of these disputes, disability studies scholars have further probed the sufficiency with which the social model of disability captures or represents the experience of disability (See for example: Crow, 1996; Davis, 2002; French, 1993; Shakespeare, 2006, 2014). These discussions, too, have revolved largely around questions of epistemology and ontology that have perhaps done as much to exhaust and divide as to illuminate and unite.
The purpose of this chapter is threefold. First, I put forth what I hope is a convincing case that the longstanding disputes over the epistemological and ontological status of disability are, at this point, unavailing, and that we would be far better served simply to regard disability explicitly as a moral category. This approach, I suspect, has the potential to expand the emancipatory impact of the social model. Second, I offer an exploration of three areas of moral philosophy in an effort to provide some initial context or scaffolding useful for engaging disability as a moral category. Finally, I discuss the three schools of moral philosophy in terms of their compatibility with the social model of disability and their implications for disability studies in education.
Moral philosophy, or ethics as it is most often referred to, is...
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