Elizabeth Barnes Mere-Difference Of Disability Essay

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In this paper, I will be explaining the argument of Elizabeth Barnes on her mere-difference of disability and whether it implies certain moral claims. Social constructivism describes that a person is considered disabled because of a contingently deep, intersubjective reality that shapes a person’s social world. Barnes argues that disability is intersubjective because whether a person is regarded to have a physical illness is not socially constructed, but rather a matter of biological fact. A person is determined to have a disability simply based on social construction. An example of a social construction is currency printed on paper. The paper itself has no value, but as a society, we decide that the piece of paper is worth five dollars. Another …show more content…
Mere-difference does not imply that it is indifferent to cause or cure disability, because of these intrinsic bads. Therefore, it is wrong to cause bads upon a person by giving them a disability. Her supporters will reference Section 2.1.3 of her paper that states: “the mere-difference view can also allow that disability—by itself, independent of its social context—involves the loss of intrinsic goods, but is nevertheless neutral with respect to well-being.” In addition to intrinsic bads, individuals with disabilities also have intrinsic goods such as the ability to learn sign language. By having both intrinsic goods and bads, a disabled person has an equalized wellbeing. An intrinsic bad according to Barnes does not affect a disabled person’s wellbeing, but is a separate aspect of their personality.
The contrasting theory to Barnes’ argument is the social model. The social model of mere-difference describes that there are no intrinsic differences between disabled and abled persons. Differences are solely a result of social pressures as the disabled are looked at as inferior. In a non-ableist society, moral claims 1 and 2 would be true because it would not matter whether a person is

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