My chapter on enhancement and disability for the Oxford Handbook on Philosophy and Disability is now published and available online. Check it out!
Here’s the information:
“Second Thoughts on Enhancement and Disability,” Melinda C. Hall
The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Disability, edited by David T. Wasserman and Adam Cureton
Abstract and Keywords
Transhumanist arguments in support of radical human enhancement are inimical to disability justice projects. Transhumanist thinkers, the strongest promoters of human enhancement, and fellow travelers who claim enhancement is a moral obligation, make arguments that rely on the denigration of disabled embodiment and lives. These arguments link disability with risk. The promotion of human enhancement is therefore open to significant disability critique despite transhumanism’s claims to allyship with disability justice activism. This chapter lays out such a disability critique of enhancement and further supports its claims by describing bioethics, and therefore transhumanism, as biopolitical in the sense Michel Foucault uses the term. Finally, this chapter develops an alternative vision of enhancement. This alternative vision poses a disability-inclusive future, accepts the risks of embodiment, and lays groundwork for a counterdiscourse of enhancement.
Keywords: enhancement, transhumanism, biopolitics, disability justice, the future, risk
In September, my book The Bioethics of Enhancement came out in paperback! Check it out at the new, much lower price! If you’d like me to send you an additional discount let me know.
Happy New Year! Help me celebrate the new year with a glance at my new work, the blog BIOPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHY!
Shelley Tremain and I are launching this blog today with the hope for a deeply politically engaged conversation featuring marginalized voices in philosophy about social and political issues and justice. I can’t wait to get started!
To begin, check out my post on the new movie Bird Box and disability and Shelley’s draft of new work on feminist philosophy of science, Foucault, and disability! We will post CFPs (there are some up already) and links to new work in marginalized philosophy and beyond.
Soon, you can also start following us on Twitter @biopoliticalph (I had a bit of a Twitter account hiccup, but we’ll be back up and running again soon) and right away you can join our re-christened Facebook group, BIOPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHY, formerly home of the Discrimination and Disadvantage community. If you are a WordPress user or just like a good blog feed, consider becoming a follower of our website itself, too (option available on the homepage).
The blog will be the home of Shelley’s acclaimed interviews with disabled philosophers, Dialogues on Disability. Her first interview in this venue will go live on January 16th at 8 am. So much exciting stuff is in the works! I am thrilled about this new philosophical (ad)venture.
I am thrilled to announce a new philosophical venture, undertaken with Shelley Tremain. In January, we will launch a blog entitled BIOPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
The blog will:
- provide up-to-date information and cutting-edge critical analysis of biopolitical asymmetries and other mechanisms and effects of power in philosophy and beyond, especially with respect to disability and apparatuses such as gender, race, class, nationality, and sexuality with which disability is co-constitutive;
- showcase the insights of members of underrepresented constituencies in philosophy and work done in marginalized areas of specialization;
- advertise CFPs and other notices for publications, conferences, workshops, institutes, and projects pertinent to underrepresented philosophers and subordinated areas of philosophical inquiry;
- offer a venue for disabled and other underrepresented and marginalized philosophers to gain the experience and skills required to both engage in philosophical discussion and the profession of philosophy more generally;
- Will be home to Dialogues on Disability, the acclaimed series of interviews that Tremain is conducting with disabled philosophers and posts to the blog on a monthly basis.
More details to follow in the coming weeks!
I was recently quoted in a story for the Washington Times by Christian Toto about the #MeToo movement’s uptake in Hollywood, and whether or not there is a liberal bias driving actors’ willingness to call out public figures.
I shared other thoughts that were not quoted by the author, part of which were as follows:
• I think those in the industry should acknowledge that sexual assault and abuse is not a partisan issue. Hollywood activists use their influence, often, to encourage votes on particular issues and for particular candidates. They should carefully consider that these two issues are separate and present them as such. We should, on the one hand, pursue better policies and candidates that can contribute to an improved sexual culture and work on behalf of oppressed persons, but we should also remember that, on the other hand, doing so does not automatically equal a vote for a particular party.
• The #MeToo movement – in Hollywood and beyond – should consider the following two points in order to be a movement for justice and to take into account the fuller picture of sexual abuse and assault. First, the #MeToo movement often rhetorically relies on the threat of incarceration or related punishment for those who are accused of committing sexual assault. I would protest that mass incarceration is a major injustice and that a feminism that contributes to that injustice by regularly calling for imprisonment is no feminism at all. Further, discussion around imprisonment shows that we have not fully dealt with the embedded nature of sexual abuse in our culture – often, people joke about those in prison getting what’s coming to them (i.e., being sexually assaulted in prison). We should refuse these kinds of jokes to better tackle the depth of our complicity in our culture of abuse. Second, the #MeToo movement is heavily focused on the workplace as the site of sexual abuse and assault. Yet, many people are abused at home, by loved ones, and – in the case of disabled people – by caregivers. In fact, disabled people (who are largely unemployed) are twice as likely or more to be sexually abused in their lifetimes. The #MeToo movement needs to help the general public get clearer on where sexual abuse occurs, and how to fight it – especially in more intimate settings than the workplace.
I was informed today that my piece, “Obscured Social Construction as Epistemic Harm” is among the Journal of Social Philosophy’s top article downloads in the last two years. Exciting! The article is part of Shelley Tremain’s excellent special issue on disability and the polis, published last year. Check it out.
I was just interviewed for a column by Gracie Bonds Staples for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Why are women surprised, angered by Kavanaugh confirmation?”
I am excited to announce my participation in a bold conference, hosted by the Hastings Center, on the topic of biocitizenship. The conference will be live-streamed and is open to the public in Brooklyn, New York at the Brooklyn Law School. I will present my continuing work on risk, and link the language of risk to the marginalization of particular oppressed populations. Thank you to the organizers, Joel Reynolds and Erik Parens.
Stetson Today posted a story about the higher education in prison program I co-direct, along with three colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences. We recently received a $210,000 grant from the Laughing Gull Foundation, which supports similar programs, especially in the South, environmental justice, and LGBTQI resource centers.
We are so proud that we are able to improve the work we do at Tomoka Correctional Institution (Daytona Beach, FL), including supporting the research and studies of our students incarcerated there. The grant will be disbursed across three years, and will allow us to offer for-credit, non-degree bearing coursework each year. We will also be able to build a computer lab for our students. Their research and studies are currently done by hand.
These and other efforts will greatly support and improve our program. Thank you to LGF for sharing our vision!
I just started an accelerated summer Logic course at Stetson this morning – just four weeks, and a great introduction to general logic! It’s a small group, and so a cozy atmosphere to learn in, and I’m looking forward to giving them some challenging problems. Today’s Wason Selection Task was a good start.