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date: 06 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins by distinguishing two political and philosophical understandings of disability: disability as a marker of a discrete and insular disadvantaged minority group and as a universal human experience, grounded in health and determined by environmental factors. Although approaches argue for the same social response to disability in the name of justice, they are incompatible on the issue of the conceptual relationship with health and the normative force of impairments. The chapter reviews current arguments for both positions—that one can be disabled and perfectly healthy and that impairments are “mere” differences—and find the argumentation both faulty and offering unstable and empirically unsupportable foundations for disability law and policy grounded in social justice.

Keywords: disability, impairment, minority model of disability, health, ICF

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