• Georgetown University
    Department of Philosophy
    Assistant Professor
  • Georgetown University
    Kennedy Institute of Ethics
    Senior Research Scholar
  • The Greenwall Foundation
    Faculty Scholar
  • The Hastings Center
    Senior Bioethics Advisor & Fellow
Emory University
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2017
APA Eastern Division
Washington, DC, United States of America
  •  2941
    Disability and White Supremacy
    Critical Philosophy of Race 10 (1): 48-70. 2022.
    It is widely known that Black people are significantly more likely to be killed by the police in the United States of America than white people. What is less widely known is that nearly half of all people killed by the police are disabled people. The aim of this paper is to better understand the intersection of racism and ableism in the USA. Contributing to the growing literature at the intersection of philosophy of disability and critical philosophy of race, I argue that theories concerning whi…Read more
  •  2593
    The Harm of Ableism: Medical Error and Epistemic Injustice
    Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 29 (3): 205-242. 2019.
    This paper argues that epistemic errors rooted in group- or identity- based biases, especially those pertaining to disability, are undertheorized in the literature on medical error. After sketching dominant taxonomies of medical error, we turn to the field of social epistemology to understand the role that epistemic schemas play in contributing to medical errors that disproportionately affect patients from marginalized social groups. We examine the effects of this unequal distribution through a …Read more
  •  2376
    Merleau-Ponty, World-Creating Blindness, and the Phenomenology of Non-Normate Bodies
    Chiasmi International: Trilingual Studies Concerning Merleau-Ponty's Thought 19 419-434. 2017.
    An increasing number of scholars at the intersection of feminist philosophy and critical disability studies have turned to Merleau-Ponty to develop phenomenologies of disability or of what, following Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, I call "non-normate" embodiment. These studies buck the historical trend of philosophers employing disability as an example of deficiency or harm, a mere litmus test for normative theories, or an umbrella term for aphenotypical bodily variation. While a Merleau-Pontian-ins…Read more
  •  1513
    Despite being assailed for decades by disability activists and disability studies scholars spanning the humanities and social sciences, the medical model of disability—which conceptualizes disability as an individual tragedy or misfortune due to genetic or environmental insult—still today structures many cases of patient–practitioner communication. Synthesizing and recasting work done across critical disability studies and philosophy of disability, I argue that the reason the medical model of di…Read more
  •  1450
    While there is a steadily growing literature on epistemic injustice in healthcare, there are few discussions of the role that biomedical technologies play in harming patients in their capacity as knowers. Through an analysis of newborn and pediatric genetic and genomic sequencing technologies (GSTs), I argue that biomedical technologies can lead to epistemic injustice through two primary pathways: epistemic capture and value partitioning. I close by discussing the larger ethical and political co…Read more
  •  1044
    Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) is a very rare condition describing those with an intense desire or need to move from a state of ability to relative impairment, typically through the amputation of one or more limbs. In this paper, I draw upon research in critical disability studies and philosophy of disability to critique arguments based upon the principle of nonmaleficence against such surgery. I demonstrate how the action-relative concept of harm in such arguments relies upon suspect n…Read more
  •  824
    Feminism and Disability
    In Carol Hay (ed.), Philosophy: Feminism, Macmillan Reference Usa. pp. 295-316. 2017.
    The article introduces readers to the study of disability, both with respect to the interdisciplinary field of disability studies and the field of philosophy of disability. We then offer an overview of three central areas of philosophical inquiry where feminist work in philosophy and disability has made significant contributions: (1) metaphysics and ontology, (2) epistemology and phenomenology, and (3) ethical, social, and political philosophy.
  •  633
    In this peer commentary on L. Syd M. Johnson’s “Inference and Inductive Risk in Disorders of Consciousness,” I argue for the necessity of disability education as an integral component of decision-making processes concerning patients with DOC and, mutatis mutandis, all patients with disabilities. The sole qualification Johnson places on such decision-making is that stakeholders are educated about and “understand the uncertainties of diagnosis and prognosis.” Drawing upon research in philosophy of…Read more
  •  617
    Disability and Social Epistemology
    In Jennifer Lackey & Aidan McGlynn (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Social Epistemology, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    This chapter canvases a number of ways that issues surrounding disability intersect with social epistemology. We begin with a discussion of how social epistemology as a field and debates concerning epistemic injustice in particular would benefit from further (a) engaging the fields of disability studies and philosophy of disability and (b) more directly addressing the problem of ableism. In section two, we turn to issues of testimony, “intuitive horribleness,” and their relationship to debates c…Read more
  •  605
    Ableism and Ageism: Insights from Disability Studies for Aging Studies
    with Anna Landre
    In Kate de Medeiros, Marlene Goldman & Thomas Cole (eds.), Critical Humanities and Ageing: Forging Interdisciplinary Dialogues, Routledge. pp. 118-29. 2022.
    [This piece is written for those working in social gerontology and aging studies, with the aim of bringing insights from disability studies and philosophy of disability to bear on enduring debates in those fields.] The guiding question of humanistic age-studies—What does it mean to grow old?—cannot be answered without reflecting on disability. This is not simply because growing old invariably means becoming impaired in various ways, but also because the discriminations and stigmas involved in ag…Read more
  •  496
    Against Personal Ventilator Reallocation
    with Laura Guidry-Grimes and Katie Savin
    Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 30 (2): 272-284. 2020.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has led to intense conversations about ventilator allocation and reallocation during a crisis standard of care. Multiple voices in the media and multiple state guidelines mention reallocation as a possibility. Drawing upon a range of neuroscientific, phenomenological, ethical, and sociopolitical considerations, the authors argue that taking away someone’s personal ventilator is a direct assault on their bodily and social integrity. They conclude that personal ventilators sh…Read more
  •  496
    Against Intuitive Horribleness
    Episteme 19 (1). 2023.
    Testimony by disabled people concerning the relationship between their experiences and overall well-being has long been an object of social scientific and humanistic study. Often discussed in terms of “the disability paradox,” these studies contrast the intuitive horribleness of certain impaired states against the testimonial evidence suggesting that people in such states do not in fact experience their lives as horrible. Explanations for why such testimonial evidence is suspect range from claim…Read more
  •  458
    Drawing upon the practice of caregiving and the insights of feminist care ethics, I offer a phenomenology of caregiving through the work of Eva Feder Kittay and Emmanuel Lévinas. I argue that caregiving is a material dialectic of embodied response involving moments of leveling, attention, and interruption. In this light, the Levinasian opposition between responding to another's singularity and leveling it via parity-based principles is belied in the experience of care. Contra much of response et…Read more
  •  438
    The Meaning of Ability and Disability
    Journal of Speculative Philosophy 33 (3): 434-447. 2019.
    Disability has been a topic in multiple areas of philosophical scholarship for decades. However, it is only in the last ten to fifteen years that philosophy of disability has increasingly become recognized as a distinct field. In this paper, I argue that the foundational question of continental philosophy of disability is the question of the meaning of ability. Engaging a range of canonical texts across the Western intellectual tradition, I argue that the foundational question of continental phi…Read more
  •  410
    Since the completion of the human genome project in 2003, genomic sequencing, analysis, and interpretation have become staples of research in medicine and the life sciences more generally. While much ink has been spilled concerning genomics’ precipitous rise, there is little agreement among scholars concerning its meaning, both in general and with respect to our current moment. Some claim genomics is neither new, nor noteworthy; others claim it is a novel and worrisome instrument of newgenics. C…Read more
  •  405
    This paper has two goals. The first is to argue that the field of bioethics in general and the literature on ideal vs. nonideal theory in particular has underemphasized a primary problem for normative theorizing: the role of conditioning principles. I define these as principles that implicitly or explicitly ground, limit, or otherwise determine the construction and function of other principles, and, as a result, profoundly impact concept formation, perception, judgment, and action, et al. The se…Read more
  •  393
    Killing in the Name of Care
    Levinas Studies 12 141-164. 2018.
    On 26 July 2016, Satoshi Uematsu murdered 19 and injured 26 at a caregiving facility in Sagamihara, Japan, making it the country’s worst mass killing since WWII. In this article, I offer an analysis of the Sagamihara 19 massacre. I draw on the work of Julia Kristeva and Emmanuel Levinas to argue that claims about disability experience are insufficient to justify normative projects. In short, disability is normatively ambiguous.
  •  367
    The Disability Bioethics Reader (edited book)
    Routledge. 2022.
    Introductory and advanced textbooks in bioethics focus almost entirely on issues that disproportionately affect disabled people and that centrally deal with becoming or being disabled. However, such textbooks typically omit critical philosophical reflection on disability, lack engagement with decades of empirical and theoretical scholarship spanning the social sciences and humanities in the multidisciplinary field of disability studies, and avoid serious consideration of the history of disabilit…Read more
  •  360
    From the Eyeball Test to the Algorithm — Quality of Life, Disability Status, and Clinical Decision Making in Surgery
    with Charles Binkley and Andrew Shuman
    New England Journal of Medicine 14 (387): 1325-1328. 2022.
    Qualitative evidence concerning the relationship between QoL and a wide range of disabilities suggests that subjective judgments regarding other people’s QoL are wrong more often than not and that such judgments by medical practitioners in particular can be biased. Guided by their desire to do good and avoid harm, surgeons often rely on "the eyeball test" to decide whether a patient will or will not benefit from surgery. But the eyeball test can easily harbor a range of implicit judgments and bi…Read more
  •  357
    Three Things Clinicians Should Know About Disability
    AMA Journal of Ethics 12 (20). 2018.
    The historical relationship between health care professionals and people with disabilities is fraught, a fact all the more troubling in light of the distinctive roles clinicians play in both establishing and responding to that which is considered normal or abnormal by society at large. Those who wish to improve their clinical practice might struggle, however, to keep up with developments across numerous disability communities as well as the ever-growing body of disability studies scholarship. To…Read more
  •  347
    Reforming Informed Consent: On Disability and Genetic Counseling
    with Elizabeth Dietz
    In Michael J. Deem, Emily Farrow & Robin Grubs (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Genetic Counseling, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    Informed consent is a central concept for empirical and theoretical research concerning pregnancy management decisions and is often taken to be one of the more fundamental goals of the profession of genetic counseling. Tellingly, this concept has been seen by disability communities as salutary, despite longstanding critiques made by disability activists, advocates, and scholars concerning practices involved in genetic counseling more generally. In this chapter, we show that the widespread faith …Read more
  •  298
    The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality
    University of Minnesota Press. 2022.
    The Life Worth Living investigates the exclusion of and discrimination against disabled people across the history of Western moral philosophy. Building on decades of activism and scholarship, Reynolds shows how longstanding views of disability are misguided and unjust, and he lays out a vision for an anti-ableist moral future. The introduction and first chapter are available to download here. Table of Contents: Introduction: The Ableist Conflation. Part I: Pain. 1. Theories of Pain. 2. A Phenom…Read more
  •  279
    Heidegger, Embodiment, and Disability
    Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (1): 183-201. 2021.
    Most interpreters of Heidegger’s reflections on the body maintain that—whether early, middle, or late in the Gesamtausgabe—Dasein’s or the mortal’s openness to being/beyng is the ground of the fleshly or bodily (das Leibliche), but not the reverse. In this paper, I argue that there is evidence from Heidegger’s own oeuvre demonstrating that this relationship is instead mutually reciprocal. That is to say, I contend that corporeal variability is constitutive of Dasein’s openness to being just as D…Read more
  •  267
    Disability Rights as a Necessary Framework for Crisis Standards of Care and the Future of Health Care
    with Laura Guidry-Grimes, Katie Savin, Joseph A. Stramondo, Marina Tsaplina, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Angela Ballantyne, Eva Feder Kittay, Devan Stahl, Jackie Leach Scully, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Anita Tarzian, Doron Dorfman, and Joseph J. Fins
    Hastings Center Report 50 (3): 28-32. 2020.
    In this essay, we suggest practical ways to shift the framing of crisis standards of care toward disability justice. We elaborate on the vision statement provided in the 2010 Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Medicine) “Summary of Guidance for Establishing Crisis Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations,” which emphasizes fairness; equitable processes; community and provider engagement, education, and communication; and the rule of law. We argue that interpreting these elements …Read more
  •  265
    Merleau-Ponty claims that the idea of objective knowledge is supported by "our reveries." My aim in this paper is to explore this argument with respect to the idea of health. As a case study, I focus on bioethical issues surrounding return of results of incidental variants with respect to the use of genetic and genomic screening technologies (GSTs) in newborn and pediatric contexts. Drawing on a range of Merleau-Ponty’s texts, I argue that this case suggests the modern idea of health to turn lar…Read more
  •  211
    The Extended Body: On Aging, Disability, and Well-being
    Hastings Center Report 48 (supplement S3). 2018.
    Insofar as many older adults fit some definition of disability, disability studies and gerontology would seem to have common interests and goals. However, there has been little discussion between these fields. The aim of this paper is to open up the insights of disability studies as well as philosophy of disability to discussions in gerontology. In doing so, I hope to contribute to thinking about the good life in late life by more critically reflecting upon the meaning of the body, ability, and …Read more
  •  210
    The Normate: On Disability, Critical Phenomenology, and Merleau-Ponty’s Cézanne
    Chiasmi International: Trilingual Studies Concerning Merleau-Ponty's Thought 24 199-218. 2022.
    In the essay “Cézanne’s Doubt,” Merleau-Ponty explores the relationship between Paul Cézanne’s art and his embodiment. The doubt in question is ultimately about the meaning of his disabilities. Should Cézanne’s disabilities or impairments shape how we interpret his art or should they instead be treated as incidental, as mere biographical data? Although Merleau-Ponty's essay isn’t intended to be phenomenological, its line of questioning is as much about lived experience as it is about art critici…Read more
  •  203
    Moving Through Capacity Space: Mapping Disability and Enhancement
    with Nicholas Greig Evans and Kaylee R. Johnson
    Journal of Medical Ethics 47 (11): 748-755. 2021.
    In this paper, we highlight some problems for accounts of disability and enhancement that have not been sufficiently addressed in the literature. The reason, we contend, is that contemporary debates that seek to define, characterise or explain the normative valence of disability and enhancement do not pay sufficient attention to a wide range of cases, and the transition between one state and another. In section one, we provide seven cases that might count as disability or enhancement. We explain…Read more
  •  184
    Disability and the problem of suffering
    Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (8): 547-547. 2020.
    I am grateful to Philip Reed for his article ‘Expressivism at the Beginning and End of Life’. His piece compellingly demonstrates the import of expanding analyses concerning the expressivist thesis beyond the reproductive sphere to the end-of-life sphere. I hope that his intervention spurns further work on this connection. In what follows, I want to focus on what I take to be moments of slippage in his use of the concept of disability, a slippage to which many disability theorists succumb. In sh…Read more
  •  182
    Renewing Medicine’s basic concepts: on ambiguity
    Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 13 (1): 8. 2018.
    In this paper, I argue that the concept of normality in medical research and clinical practice is inextricable from the concept of ambiguity. I make this argument in the context of Edmund Pellegrino's call for a renewed reflection on medicine’s basic concepts and by drawing on work in critical disability studies concerning Deafness and body integrity identity disorder. If medical practitioners and philosophers of medicine wish to improve their understanding of the meaning of medicine as well as …Read more