•  5
    Character education for students with disabilities
    Journal of Moral Education 1-24. forthcoming.
  • Ideals of Respect: Identity, Dignity and Disability
    In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), Ethics in Practice: An Anthology (5th Edition), Wiley-blackwell. pp. 454-464. 2020.
    My aim in this essay is to partially characterize an ideal kind of respectful attitude that we should aspire to have towards all people and to explain why some of the ways we often regard and treat those with disabilities may be incompatible with realizing this ideal. My proposal is roughly that that one kind of respect, which I call ‘identity respect’, is directed at the identity or self-conception of persons; that this kind of respect involves regarding the identity of others as worthy of our…Read more
  • Hiding a Disability and Passing as Non-Disabled
    In Adam Cureton & Thomas E. Jr Hill (eds.), Disability in Practice: Attitudes, Policies and Relationships, Oxford University Press. pp. 18-32. 2018.
    I draw on my experiences of passing as non-disabled to explain how a disabled person can hide his disability, why he might do so, and what costs and risks he and others might face along the way. Passing as non-disabled can bring greater social acceptance and inclusion in joint-projects, an enhanced sense of belonging, pride and of self-worth, and an easier time forming and maintaining personal relationships. Yet hiding one’s disability can also undermine some of these same values when doing so…Read more
  • The Moral Concept of Right as Adjudication
    In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 7, Oxford University Press. pp. 51-72. 2018.
    John Rawls makes a provocative, original, but largely underdeveloped and neglected suggestion about the most basic subject-matter and aims of normative ethical theory. Rawls proposes that the moral concept of ‘right’, which we use when we call an individual action or social practice morally right or wrong, is defined by the functional role it has of properly adjudicating conflicting claims that persons make on one another and on social practices. Substantive moral theories of right and wrong, i…Read more
  •  8
    Disability in Practice: Attitudes, Policies, and Relationships (edited book)
    with Hill Jr
    Oxford University Press. 2018.
    Everyone is disabled in some respect - others can do things that we cannot - but significant limitations on pursuing major life activities pose special problems. This volume presents new philosophical engagements with moral attitudes and relationships involving disabilities, and with public policy and the deliberative framework for assessing it.
  •  1
    Kant on Virtue: Seeking the Ideal in Human Conditions
    with Thomas E. Hill, Jr,
    In Nancy Snow (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Virtue, Oxford University Press. pp. 263-280. 2018.
    Immanuel Kant defines virtue as a kind of strength and resoluteness of will to resist and overcome any obstacles that oppose fulfilling our moral duties. Human agents, according to Kant, owe it to ourselves to strive for perfect virtue by fully committing ourselves to morality and by developing the fortitude to maintain and execute this life-governing policy despite obstacles we may face. This essay reviews basic features of Kant’s conception of virtue and then discusses the role of emotions, …Read more
  •  7
    The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Disability (edited book)
    with David Wasserman
    Oxford University Press, Usa. 2020.
    Disability raises profound and fundamental issues: questions about human embodiment and well-being; dignity, respect, justice and equality; personal and social identity. It raises pressing questions for educational, health, reproductive, and technology policy, and confronts the scope and direction of the human and civil rights movements. Yet it is only recently that disability has become the subject of the sustained and rigorous philosophical inquiry that it deserves. The Oxford Handbook of Phil…Read more
  •  103
    Disability and Disadvantage (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2009.
    Introduction ADAM CURETON AND KIMBERLEY BROWNLEE Disability and disadvantage are interrelated topics that raise important and sometimes overlooked issues in ...
  •  39
    Reasonable Hope in Kant’s Ethics
    Kantian Review 23 (2): 181-203. 2018.
    The most apparent obstacles to a just, enlightened and peaceful social world are also, according to Kant, nature’s way of compelling us to realize those and other morally good ends. Echoing Adam Smith’s idea of the ‘invisible hand’, Kant thinks that selfishness, rivalry, quarrelsomeness, vanity, jealousy and self-conceit, along with the oppressive social inequalities they tend to produce, drive us to perfect our talents, develop culture, approach enlightenment and, through the strife and instabi…Read more
  •  22
    Respecting the Dignity of Children with Disabilities in Clinical Practice
    with Anita Silvers
    HEC Forum 29 (3): 257-276. 2017.
    Prevailing philosophies about parental and other caregiver responsibilities toward children tend to be protectionist, grounded in informed benevolence in a way that countenances rather than circumvents intrusive paternalism. And among the kinds of children an adult might be called upon to parent or otherwise care for, children with disabilities figure among those for whom the strongest and snuggest shielding is supposed be deployed. In this article, we examine whether this equation of securing w…Read more
  •  191
    From Self‐Respect to Respect for Others
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (2): 166-187. 2013.
    The leading accounts of respect for others usually assume that persons have a rational nature, which is a marvelous thing, so they should be respected like other objects of ‘awesome’ value. Kant's views about the ‘value’ of humanity, which have inspired contemporary discussions of respect, have been interpreted in this way. I propose an alternative interpretation in which Kant proceeds from our own rational self‐regard, through our willingness to reciprocate with others, to duties of respect for…Read more
  •  34
    Kant on Cultivating a Good and Stable Will
    In Iskra Fileva (ed.), Questions of Character, Oxford University Press. pp. 63-77. 2016.
    Kant’s deontology is often seen as a rival to virtue ethics. This chapter argues, however, that while there may be differences between Kant’s and Aristotle’s conceptions virtue (for instance, a virtuous person, in Kant’s view, may be destitute and unhappy, fail to cultivate certain emotions and sentiments, etc.), virtue is central to Kant’s ethics. The key problem is whether there is a Kantian account of virtue compatible with Kant’s view of free will. Kant held that having virtue means having a…Read more
  •  17
    Parents with Disabilities
    In Leslie Francis (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reproductive Ethics, Oxford University Press. pp. 407-427. 2017.
    Having and raising children is widely regarded as one of the most valuable projects a person can choose to undertake. Yet many disabled people find it difficult to share in this value because of obstacles that arise from widespread social attitudes about disability. A common assumption is that having a disability tends to make someone unfit to parent. This assumption may seem especially relevant as a factor in decisions about whether to allow, encourage and assist disabled people to reproduce an…Read more
  •  56
    Offensive Beneficence
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (1): 74--90. 2016.
    Simple acts of kindness that are performed sincerely and with evident good will can also, paradoxically, be perceived as deeply insulting by the people we succeed in benefiting. When we are moved to help someone out of genuine concern for her, when we have no intention to humiliate or embarrass her and when we succeed at benefiting her, how can our generosity be disparaging or demeaning to her? Yet, when the tables are turned, we sometimes find ourselves brusquely refusing assistance from others…Read more
  •  83
    A Rawlsian Perspective on Justice for the Disabled
    Essays in Philosophy 9 (1): 55-76. 2008.
    I aim to identify and describe some basic elements of a Rawlsian approach that may help us to think conscientiously about how, from the standpoint of justice, we should treat the disabled. Rawls has been criticized for largely ignoring issues of this sort. These criticisms lose their appeal, I suggest, when we distinguish between a Rawlsian standpoint and the limited project Rawls mainly undertakes in A Theory of Justice. There his explicit aim is to find principles of justice, which are to gove…Read more
  •  41
    Some Virtues of Disability
    International Journal of Applied Philosophy 29 (1): 19-35. 2015.
    When we encounter people with disabilities in our everyday lives, we may sincerely wonder how (if at all) we ought to help them. Our concern in these ordinary contexts is typically not about securing basic justice. We want to know instead, as a matter of interpersonal morality, when and how it is appropriate for us to open a door for a wheelchair user, to pick up a dropped napkin for her, or to engage her in conversation about her condition. When we do try to give help, we can be surprised and h…Read more
  •  154
    Kant offers the following argument for the formula of humanity (FH): Each rational agent necessarily conceives of her own rational nature as an end in itself and does so on the same grounds as every other rational agent, so all rational agents must conceive of one another's rational nature as an end in itself. As it stands, the argument appears to be question-begging and fallacious. Drawing on resources from the formula of universal law (FUL) and Kant's claims about the primacy of duties to ones…Read more
  •  35
    Prudence and Responsibility to Self in an Identity Crisis
    Res Philosophica 93 (4): 815-841. 2016.
    A comprehensive theory of rational prudence would explain how a person should adjudicate among the conflicting interests of her past, present, future and counterfactual selves. For example, when a person is having an identity crisis, perhaps because she has suddenly become disabled, she may be left with no sense of purpose to keep her going. In her despondent state, she may think it prudent to give up on life now even if she would soon adopt a different set of values that would give her a renewe…Read more
  •  4
    In Michael Gibbons (ed.), Encyclopedia of Political Thought, Wiley-blackwell. 2014.
    The term “constructivism” names a family of political, moral and metaethical views that, in general terms, regard some or all normative claims as valid in virtue of being outcomes of a “procedure of construction” in which actual or hypothetical agents react to, choose, or otherwise settle on principles of justice, moral rules, values, etc. Traditionally, moral validity or justifiability was thought to depend on God, the Forms, or some other independent moral order. Various procedures of a differ…Read more
  •  52
    Unity of Reasons
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (4): 877-895. 2016.
    There are at least two basic normative notions: rationality and reasons. The dominant normative account of reasons nowadays, which I call primitive pluralism about reasons, holds that some reasons are normatively basic and there is no underlying normative explanation of them in terms of other normative notions. Kantian constructivism about reasons, understood as a normative rather than a metaethical view, holds that rationality is the primitive normative notion that picks out which non-normative…Read more
  •  254
    Degrees of fairness and proportional chances
    Utilitas 21 (2): 217-221. 2009.
    Suppose the following: Two groups of people require our aid but we can help only one group; there are more people in the first group than the second group; every person in both groups has an equal claim on our aid; and we have a duty to help and no other special obligations or duties. I argue that there exists at least one fairness function, which is a function that measures the goodness of degrees of fairness, that implies that we should follow a procedure of proportional chances to determine w…Read more
  •  116
    Solidarity and Social Moral Rules
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (5): 691-706. 2012.
    The value of solidarity, which is exemplified in noble groups like the Civil Rights Movement along with more mundane teams, families and marriages, is distinctive in part because people are in solidarity over, for or with regard to something, such as common sympathies, interests, values, etc. I use this special feature of solidarity to resolve a longstanding puzzle about enacted social moral rules, which is, aren’t these things just heuristics, rules of thumb or means of coordination that we ‘fe…Read more
  •  251
    G.A. Cohen accuses Rawls of illicitly tailoring basic principles of justice to the ‘crooked wood’ of human nature. We are naturally self-interested, for example, so justice must entice us to conform to requirements that cannot be too demanding, whereas Cohen thinks we should distinguish more clearly between pure justice and its pragmatic implementation. My suggestion is that, strictly speaking, Rawls does not rely on facts of any kind to define his constructive procedure or to argue that his pri…Read more
  •  602
    Immanuel Kant is known for his ideas about duty and morally worthy acts, but his conception of virtue is less familiar. Nevertheless Kant’s understanding of virtue is quite distinctive and has considerable merit compared to the most familiar conceptions. Kant also took moral education seriously, writing extensively on both the duty of adults to cultivate virtue and the empirical conditions to prepare children for this life-long responsibility. Our aim is, first, to explain Kant’s conception of v…Read more
  •  81
    Making room for rules
    Philosophical Studies 172 (3): 737-759. 2015.
    Kantian moral theories must explain how their most basic moral values of dignity and autonomy should be interpreted and applied to human conditions. One place Kantians should look for inspiration is, surprisingly, the utilitarian tradition and its emphasis on generally accepted, informally enforced, publicly known moral rules of the sort that help us give assurances, coordinate our behavior, and overcome weak wills. Kantians have tended to ignore utilitarian discussions of such rules mostly beca…Read more
  •  52
    Some advantages to having a parent with a disability
    Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (1): 31-34. 2016.
    Fertility specialists, adoption agents, judges and others sometimes take themselves to have a responsibility to fairly adjudicate conflicts that may arise between the procreative and parenting interests of people with disabilities and the interests that their children or potential children have to be nurtured, cared for and protected. An underlying assumption is that having a disability significantly diminishes a person's parenting abilities. My aim is to challenge the claim that having a disabi…Read more
  •  55
    with Thomas E. Hill
    International Encyclopedia of Ethics. 2013.
    “Supererogation” is now a technical term in philosophy for a range of ideas expressed by terms such as “good but not required,” “beyond the call of duty,” “praiseworthy but not obligatory,” and “good to do but not bad not to do” (see Duty and Obligation; Intrinsic Value). Examples often cited are extremely generous acts of charity, heroic self-sacrifice, extraordinary service to morally worthy causes, and sometimes forgiveness and minor favors. These concepts are familiar in institutional contex…Read more