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date: 21 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides a roadmap of ongoing conversations about cognitive disability and moral status. Its aim is to highlight the political stakes of these conversations for advocates for the cognitively disabled while at the same time bringing out how a fundamental point of divergence within the conversations has to do with what count as appropriate methods of ethics. The main divide is between thinkers who take ethical neutrality to be a regulative ideal for doing empirical justice to the lives of people with cognitive disabilities and those who reject this methodological precept as unduly restrictive. What results is a debate between, on the one hand, fans of various familiar forms of moral individualism and Kantian approaches in ethics and, on the other, a range of disability scholars and activists who implicitly or explicitly make use of philosophically more radical methods.

Keywords: cognitive disability, moral status, methods of ethics, moral individualism, Kantian ethics

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