The Disability Bioethics Reader

Oxford; New York: Routledge (2022)
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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 disability activism in shaping social, legal, political, and medical understandings of disability over the last fifty years. For example, longstanding discussions on topics such as euthanasia, physician aid-in-dying, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, prenatal testing, selective abortion, enhancement, patient autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and health care rationing all tend to be premised on shared and implicit assumptions regarding disability, especially in relation to quality of life, yet with too little recognition of the way that “disability” is itself a topic of substantial research and scholarly disagreement across multiple fields. This is not merely a concern for academic and medical education; as an applied field tied to one of the largest economic sectors of most industrialized nations, bioethics has a direct impact on healthcare education, practice, policy, and, thereby, the health outcomes of existing and future populations. It is in light of these pressing issues that the Disability Bioethics Reader is the first reader to introduce students to core bioethical issues and concepts through the lens of critical disability studies and philosophy of disability. The Disability Bioethics Reader will include over thirty-five chapters covering key areas such as: critical histories and state-of-the-field analyses of modern medicine, bioethics, disability studies, and philosophy of medicine; methods in bioethics; concerns at the edge- and end-of-life; enhancement; disability, quality of life, and well-being; prenatal testing and abortion; invisible disabilities; chronic illness; healthcare justice; genetics and genomics; intellectual disability and neurodiversity; ethics and diagnosis; and epistemic injustice in healthcare.

Author Profiles

Joel Michael Reynolds
Georgetown University
Christine Wieseler
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona


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