|Linda Barclay is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Monash University, Australia. She is a political philosopher with particular research expertise in the meaning and function of ideals associated with justice, particularly freedom, equality, human rights and dignity. She has applied her analysis of these ideals to debates about multiculturalism, gender and disability. Her work appears in journals such as the Journal of Applied Philosophy, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy and Social Theory and Practice. Her book, Disability with Dignity, was published by Routledge in 2018.|
Is disability bad? We certainly seem to think so. Most of us try to avoid disabilities in ourselves and our children, and our governments spend considerable resources on preventing and attempting to cure them. Yet happiness research suggests that people with disabilities are only marginally less happy than people without disabilities, if at all. Most philosophical accounts of well-being also struggle to explain what is so bad about (most) disabilities. By distinguishing between happiness and well-being, and by arguing that neither happiness nor well-being are the only things we care about, this talk will attempt to make sense of some of our common practices even if, as it happens, disability is not that bad.