Philosophical Reflections on Disability

by D. Christopher Ralston, Justin Ho

Series: Philosophy and Medicine (No. 104)

This project draws together the diverse strands of the debate regarding disability in a way never before combined in a single volume. After providing a representative sampling of competing philosophical approaches to the conceptualization of disability as such, the volume goes on to address such themes as the complex interplay between disability and quality of life, questions of social justice as it relates to disability, and the personal dimensions of the disability experience.

By explicitly locating the discussion of various applied ethical questions within the broader theoretical context of how disability is best conceptualized, the volume seeks to bridge the gap between abstract philosophical musings about the nature of disease, illness and disability found in much of the philosophy of medicine literature, on the one hand, and the comparatively concrete but less philosophical discourse frequently encountered in much of the disability studies literature. It also critically examines various claims advanced by disability advocates, as well as those of their critics.

In bringing together leading scholars in the fields of moral theory, bioethics, and disability studies, this volume makes a unique contribution to the scholarly literature, while also offering a valuable resource to instructors and students interested in a text that critically examines and assesses various approaches to some of the most vexing problems in contemporary social and political philosophy.


  • Springer Netherlands; September 2009
  • ISBN: 9789048124770
  • Read online, or download in DRM-free PDF (digitally watermarked) format
  • Title: Philosophical Reflections on Disability
  • Series: Philosophy and Medicine (No. 104)
  • Author: D. Christopher Ralston (ed.); Justin Ho (ed.)
  • Imprint: Springer

In The Press

From the reviews:

“The volume at hand, edited by D. Christopher Ralston and Justin Ho … draws together some of the leading figures in medical ethics and bioethics. It seeks to offer a sample of competing theoretical and philosophical approaches to the conceptualization of disability by different scholars including Christopher Boorse, Anita Silvers, H. Tristam Engelhardt Jr, and Ron Amundson. … it is a worthwhile addition to the flourishing literature in the philosophy of disability and an invaluable read for all those interested in philosophical issues around disability.” (Franziska Felder, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol. 14, 2011)