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Disabilities, People with

  1. David Wasserman,
  2. Adrienne Asch

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee639

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Wasserman, D. and Asch, A. 2013. Disabilities, People with. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


People with disabilities are present everywhere, and increasingly visible in many spheres of public life. Yet there is much debate about what counts as a disability, and what difference disability makes in various contexts. This essay briefly reviews these questions to set the stage for discussing some of the main ethical issues concerning people with disabilities: the impact of disability on well-being; the relevance of disability for decisions about creating and extending lives, allocating scarce resources, and undertaking medical and surgical interventions; and the obligations of a just society to people with disabilities. Often, these issues involve conflicts between the perspectives of bioethics and disability scholarship.


  • discrimination;
  • practical (applied) ethics;
  • autonomy;
  • bioethics;
  • disability;
  • equality;
  • justice;
  • minorities;
  • respect;
  • rights