Date of Award
Master of Arts
Stan Husi, Joshua Spencer
Disability rights activists and recent work in the philosophy of disability defend the mere-difference view: a physical disability does not, by itself, make a disabled person worse off. This view poses a problem for Philippa Foot’s (2001) Neo-Aristotelian account of practical reason. Foot’s view is committed to: (i) what is required for human flourishing is a source of normative reasons, and (ii) physical capacities are required for human flourishing. This implies that there is a reason to act because a physical capacity is required for human flourishing. I apply Shepherd’s (2020) mere-difference view of disability to argue that (ii) is false. Some physical capacities are not required for human flourishing. This is because some physical capacities and disabilities are neither intrinsically good or bad. Foot’s view thus makes false predictions about what reasons for action there are - it overgenerates reasons. This is a major problem for any view of practical reason. I suggest rejecting the aspect of Foot’s view responsible for (ii). That feature is: natural-historical judgments, a core feature of paradigmatic versions of Neo-Aristotelian Naturalism.
Alvarez, Steven, "Neo-Aristotelian Naturalism Has a Disability Problem" (2023). Theses and Dissertations. 3236.
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