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2017 Tennessee Value and AgencyConference Philosophy of Disability: Perspectives, Challenges, and Aspirations

The 2017 Tennessee Value and Agency Conference on Philosophy of Disability: Perspectives, Challenges and Aspirations will take place from October 27 through October 29, 2017 at the Holiday Inn Knoxville Downtown (525 Henley St, Knoxville, TN 37902).

Pre-Conference Undergraduate "Meet and Greet" Event

Conference Theme: Philosophy of Disability

Over the past three decades, philosophers have increasingly come to recognize that issues of disability are of central importance to moral and political philosophy. Disability raises fundamental issues about the significance of variations in physical and mental functioning for human performance and well-being, for personal and social identity, for self-respect and respect for others, and for justice in the allocation of resources and the design of the physical and social environment. This large, public conference, which carries on the tradition of the Tennessee Value and Agency Conference, will bring together many of the best scholars who work on philosophical issues of disability in order to introduce the main conceptual and normative issues in disability, to advance the discussion of those issues, and to help to set the terms of the philosophical agenda for disability. The conference, and especially the keynote talks, will be of interest to a wide audience, including undergraduates, people working in relevant areas outside of philosophy such as law, public policy, sociology and economics, as well as members of the general public.

The conference will include presentations from a variety of philosophical backgrounds and personal experiences. Presenters will include established scholars and younger philosophers, those who have written extensively on disability as well as those whose work bears on disability, philosophers who are disabled or have direct personal experience with disability, and an international assortment of philosophers. The conference will draw participants and themes from the Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Disability, which is currently being edited by David Wasserman and Adam Cureton.

The following are some of the topics that the conference will include:

  • The nature of disability, including the medical and social models.
  • Bodily rights, the plasticity of embodiment, and epistemic privilege and discrimination
  • Whether disability necessarily makes a person’s life go worse for her
  • Distributive justice for disabled people
  • Respect for people with disabilities and their self-respect
  • Physician-Assisted Dying
  • Whether people with severe mental disabilities have moral status equal to people who are not disabled
  • The neurodiversity movement and neurotechnology
  • The relationship between disability and health
  • Healthcare allocation to disabled people
  • Reproduction and parenting by disabled people

Our aim is to offer a fairly comprehensive representation of the prominent views on each of our topics as well as to extend these discussions in novel and exciting ways.

Keynote Speakers

Anita Silvers

Anita Silvers

Professor and Chair of Philosophy, San Francisco State University

Leslie Francis

Leslie Francis

Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Utah

Thomas E. Hill

Thomas E. Hill

Kenan Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, UNC Chapel Hill


Friday, October 27

8:00am - 8:55am
Continental Breakfast (open to everyone)
8:55am - 9:00am Welcome and opening remarks, John Zomchick (Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

FRIDAY MORNING SESSION, 9:00am - 12:15pm

Chair:  Jackie Leach Scully (Newcastle University)

9:00am - 10:00am
Paper:  Disability, Health and Difference
Speaker:    Jerome Bickenbach (University of Lucerne)
Commentator:   Lorella Terzi (University of Roehampton)
10:00am - 11:00am
Paper:  Procreation and Intellectual Disability: A Kantian Approach
Speaker:    Samuel Kerstein (University of Maryland)
Commentator:   John Vorhaus (University College London)
11:00am - 11:15am
Break (coffee and hot tea)
11:15am - 12:15pm
Paper:  The Limiting Role of Respect for People with Disabilities

Speaker:    Adam Cureton (University of Tennessee)
Commentator:   Teresa Blankmeyer Burke (Gallaudet University)
12:15pm - 1:30pm
Lunch (by invitation; others are on their own)


Chair:  Tiffany Campbell (University of Utah)

1:30pm - 3:00pm
Panel:  Issues in Epistemic Authority: Experience, Privilege, Injustice
Speakers:   Jessica Begon (University of Oxford)
  Josh Dohmen (University of West Georgia)
  Jason Marsh (St. Olaf College)
3:00pm - 3:15pm
3:15pm - 4:15pm
Panel:  Disability, Justice, and Neurotechnology
Speakers: Sara Goering (University of Washington)
  Joseph Stramondo (San Diego State University)
4:15pm - 4:45pm
Break (snacks, coffee, hot tea, iced-tea)


Chair:  Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry (Peter A. Allard School of Law The University of British Columbia)

4:45pm - 4:50pm
Welcome remarks
4:50pm - 6:25pm
UT Humanities Center Visiting Scholars Lecture: Defining Disability and Respecting Rights: Reasonable Accommodation must be Meaningful - But for Whom?
Speakers:   Leslie Francis (University of Utah)
  Anita Silvers (San Francisco State University)
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Dinner (everyone is on their own)

Saturday, October 28

8:00am - 9:00am
Continental Breakfast (open to everyone)


Chair:  Justin Guinn (University of Tennessee)

9:00am - 10:00am
Panel:  Dignity and Cognitive Disability
Speakers: Linda Barclay (Monash University)
  Suzy Killmister (University of Connecticut)
10:00am - 10:15am Break
10:15am - 11:45am
Panel:  Wellbeing
Speakers:   Julia Mosquera (Reading, Institute for Futures Studies)
  Stephen Campbell (Bentley University)
  Sean Aas (Georgetown University)
11:45am - 1:00pm
Lunch (by invitation; others are on their own)


Chair:  Mary Helen Brickhouse-Bryson (University of Tennessee)

1:00pm - 2:30pm
Panel:  Moral Status
Speakers: Alice Crary (The New School for Social Research)
  Licia Carlson (Providence College)
  Eva Kittay (Stony Brook University)
2:30pm - 2:45pm
Break (coffee and hot tea)
2:45pm - 4:15pm
Panel:  Cost-Benefit Analysis
Speakers: Greg Bognar (Stockholm University)
“Cost-Effectiveness Analysis and Disability Discrimination”
  Dominic Wilkinson (University of Oxford)
“Prioritisation and Parity. Which disabled newborn infants should be candidates for scarce life-saving treatment?”
Commentator: David Wasserman (National Institutes of Health)
4:15pm - 4:45pm
Break (snacks, coffee, hot tea, iced-tea)


Chair:  Christie Hartley (Georgia State University)

4:50pm - 6:20pm
Keynote Address:  Appreciation and Expressions of Respect
Speaker:   Thomas E. Hill (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
6:45pm - 8:45pm
Dinner (by invitation; others are on their own)

Sunday, October 29

8:00am - 9:00am
Continental Breakfast (open to everyone)

SUNDAY MORNING SESSION, 9:00am - 11:00am

Chair:  Caroline Mobley (University of Tennessee)

9:00am - 10:00am
Paper:  Children's Disability, Parental Autonomy, and Identity
Speaker: Mary Crossley (University of Pittsburgh School of Law)
Commentator: Chris Kaposy (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
10:00am - 11:00am
Paper:  The Disability Case Against Legalizing Assisted Dying
Speaker: Danny Scoccia (New Mexico State University)
Commentator: Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry (Peter A. Allard School of Law The University of British Columbia)
11:00am - 11:15am
Break (coffee and hot tea)


Chair:  Alex Feldt (University of Tennessee)

11:15am - 12:45pm
Skype Panel:  Critical Approaches to Philosophy of Disability
Speakers:   Shelley Tremain (Independent Scholar)
  Melinda Hall (Stetson University)
  Havi Carel (University of Bristol)
12:45pm - 2:00pm
Lunch (by invitation for those who are still in town; others are on their own)

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