Disability and Contractual Expectations
This is a précis of the forthcoming book, The Disabled Contract: Severe Intellectual Disability, Justice and Morality. It examines how people with severe intellectual disabilities (PSID) fare within the social contract tradition. More specifically, it contends that even recent strategies that attempted to integrate disability within the realm of contractual justice and morality are not entirely successful. These strategies cannot convincingly ground a robust moral status for PSID; or, if they do so, it is at the cost of making this status merely derivative or contingent. The failure of social contract theory to bring severe disabilities within its purview should not be seen as a marginal theoretical defect affecting only a small segment of human populations. At best, it reveals a gap that should impel moral and political theorists to give fiduciary and caring ideals their due weight next to contractual ideals. At worst, the social contract tradition is not only incomplete, but necessarily creates and oppresses the ‘disabled subject’.
The goal of this précis is to introduce readers to some of the conclusions I reach in the book in an accessible, short format. The arguments are therefore illustrative rather than exhaustive.
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