Friday, September 12, 2008

Cognitive Disability: A Challenge to Moral Philosophy

There's an upcoming conference at Stonybrook University in NY which sounds fascinating.

"Cognitive disability: A challenge to Moral Philosophy"

"The realities of cognitive disability pose a significant challenge to certain key conceptions philosophers have held. Philosophers have conceived of the mark of humanity as the possession of rational cognitive capacities. They have traditionally extended the mantles of equality, dignity, justice, responsibility, and moral fellowship to those with these abilities, whom they speak of as "persons." What then should we say about those with severe cognitive disabilities? How should we treat these individuals and what sorts of entitlements can they claim? Should we grant the arguments of some philosophers who want to parse our moral universe in ways that depend on degrees of cognitive capacity, not on being human? How do claims for the moral consideration of animals bear on the question? Is it morally acceptable to consign some human beings to the status of "non-persons"? Philosophers have rarely faced these questions squarely and systematically."

Further information notes that the main focus of the conversations will be regarding those with Ausism/ Aspergers, Alzheimers and "those labled 'mentally retarded'."

The conference runs from September 18-20. See Stonybrook's site for more information.

Thanks for supporting Maine VRC. P

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