The Minority Body
A Theory of Disability (Studies in Feminist Philosophy)
Oxford University Press 2016
New Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in MedicineNew Books in PhilosophyNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network January 3, 2017 Robert Talisse
We are all familiar with the idea that some persons are disabled. But what is disability? What makes it such that a condition–physical, cognitive, psychological–is a disability, rather than, say, a disease or illness? Is disability always and intrinsically bad? Are disabilities things to be cured? Might disabilities be merely ways of being different? And what role should the testimony and experiences of disabled persons play in addressing these questions?
In The Minority Body: A Theory of Disability (Oxford University Press, 2016) Elizabeth Barnes argues that, at least for a range of physical conditions characterized as disabilities, disabilities are merely ways in which bodies can be different, not ways of their being intrinsically badly off. She argues that this view of disability as mere difference has important implications for broader moral and social issues concerning disabled persons; she also argues that her view is better able to respect the experiences and testimony of disabled persons.