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Drawing lines, crossing lines: ethics and the challenge of disabled embodiment

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jackie Leach Scully


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The advent of genetic technologies and of genetic explanations for biomedical phenomena has major implications for disability. They raise the fundamental question of our valuation of variations in human embodiment. In this paper I suggest that the lived experience of a specific embodiment affects the structures of imagination and interpretation that people use in moral perception and evaluation. As an example, I consider recent 'deaf designer baby' cases, suggesting that it is not possible to understand the ethics of the choices made without acknowledging significant differences in embodied experience. To understand embodiment fully means allowing the body itself to take us into unfamiliar territory, including experiences of limitation and difference. I argue that true justice for disabled people will demand insight into different lived experiences and an openness to what other corporeal modes have to teach us

Publication metadata

Author(s): Scully JL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Feminist Theology

Year: 2003

Volume: 11

Issue: 3

Pages: 265-280

ISSN (print): 0966-7350

ISSN (electronic): 1745-5189

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/096673500301100302


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