The Journal of Philosophy, Science & Law


The Journal of Philosophy, Science & Law: Disability Special Issue
Volume 14, July 2, 2014, pages 1-3
full text version

Expanding Opportunities for People with Disabilities: Promoting a More Cautious Approach

Yvette Pearson*

* Chair, Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies, Old Dominion University

The articles in this special issue on disability demonstrate the importance of attending closely to the experiences of individuals with disabilities in making decisions whether to use medical, psychological, or social interventions that may affect the person’s identity and alter subsequent experiences. Though each article focuses on the problems or merits of different types of interventions—cochlear implants, surrogate partner therapy (SPT), and growth attenuation—all of the articles draw the reader’s attention to the need to reconsider the medical model of disability and attend to the potentially corrective value of the social (or psychosocial) model of disability. The latter model of disability emphasizes the impact of prevailing social attitudes and institutions on the welfare of individuals with disabilities, while the former, with its tendency to pathologize deviations from typical species function, seems to provide a more “deterministic” and often myopic lens through which to view disability.

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