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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


Registration to attend the conference is free. To register, visit this link.

Registration deadline is Friday, October 20.

Office of Research and Engagement, Ready for the World, Haines-Morris Endowment Fund, UT Humanities Center, College of Arts and Sciences, Office of the Provost, School of Law, Chancellor's Council for Diversity and Interculturalism, Student Disability Services, Campus Events Board, College of Social Work, Department of Anthropology, Department of English, Department of Political Science, Department of Sociology, and Department of Philosophy

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