Philosophy of Disability, Conceptual Engineering, and the Nursing Home-Industrial-Complex in Canada

International Journal of Critical Diversity Studies 4 (1):10-33 (2021)
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ABSTRACT In this article, I indicate how the naturalized and individualized conception of disability that prevails in philosophy informs the indifference of philosophers to the predictable COVID-19 tragedy that has unfolded in nursing homes, supported living centers, psychiatric institutions, and other institutions in which elders and younger disabled people are placed. I maintain that, insofar as feminist and other discourses represent these institutions as sites of care and love, they enact structural gaslighting. I argue, therefore, that philosophers must engage in conceptual engineering with respect to how disability and these institutions are understood and represented. To substantiate my argument, I trace the sequence of catastrophic events that have occurred in nursing homes in Canada and in the Canadian province of Ontario in particular during the pandemic, tying these events to other past and current eugenic practices produced in the Canadian context. The crux of the article is that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into vivid relief the carceral character of nursing homes and other congregate settings in which elders and younger disabled people are confined. KEYWORDS carceral, conceptual engineering, nursing home-industrial-complex, philosophy of disability, structural gaslighting

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