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date: 17 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter is based on a concern that recent philosophical discussions about disability—more and more focused on the relevance of disability to individual well-being—risk losing sight of the original, political concerns motivating the disability rights movements and its academic interpreters. I develop this by explicating some reasons why pro-disability philosophers can and should reject welfarist arguments across a wide range of cases. Taking debates around causing disability in procreative ethics as an illustrative example, I argue that the best versions of pro-disability arguments in this area powerfully buttress long-standing liberal objections to utilitarianism and welfarism more generally—particularly concerns that policies should not be publicly justified in terms of reasonably controversial conceptions of the good life. Public reason precludes these sorts of judgments regarding well-being, I argue, whether they are positive or negative about the welfare value of disability.

Keywords: disability, well-being, public reason, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, quality-adjusted life-years

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