Barnes, Elizabeth, and . Valuing Disability, Causing Disability

2014, Ethics, 125 (1): 88-113.

Abstract: Disability rights activists often claim that disability is not – by itself – something that makes disabled people worse off. A popular objection to such a view of disability is this: were it correct, it would make it permissible to cause disability and impermissible to cause nondisability (or impermissible to ‘cure’ disability, to use the value-laden term). The aim of this article is to show that these twin objections don’t succeed.

Comment: This text intervenes in the debate over whether disability, itself, makes someone worse off (the mere-disability/bad-disability debate). It could serve as a clear introduction to the sorts of arguments that support the view that disability is a bad-making feature of someone's life, and contains easily understood counter-examples to that view. It has a place in a course covering disability, impairment, bioethics, autonomy, and social minorities.

Lotz, Mianna, and . Procreative reasons relevance: on the moral significance of why we have children

2009, Bioethics 23(5): 291-299.

Abstract: Advances in reproductive technologies – in particular in genetic screening and selection – have occasioned renewed interest in the moral justifiability of the reasons that motivate the decision to have a child. The capacity to select for desired blood and tissue compatibilities has led to the much discussed ‘saviour sibling’ cases in which parents seek to ‘have one child to save another’. Heightened interest in procreative reasons is to be welcomed, since it prompts a more general philosophical interrogation of the grounds for moral appraisal of reasons-to-parent, and of the extent to which such reasons are relevant to the moral assessment of procreation itself. I start by rejecting the idea that we can use a distinction between ‘other-regarding’ and ‘future-child-regarding’ reasons as a basis on which to distinguish good from bad procreative reasons. I then offer and evaluate three potential grounds for elucidating and establishing a relationship between procreative motivation and the rightness/wrongness of procreative conduct: the predictiveness, the verdictiveness, and the expressiveness of procreative reasons.

Comment: This text is best used in teaching on procreative rights and the ethics of abortion. Since it is rather specialised, we recommend offering it as further reading in undergraduate applied ethics modules, but would suggest making it a required reading in postgraduate teaching.