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Disability and the problem of suffering
  1. Joel Michael Reynolds1,2
  1. 1 Philosophy, Georgetown University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  2. 2 Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Washington, Disctrict of Columbia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Joel Michael Reynolds, Philosophy, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057-0004, USA; Joel_Reynolds{at}

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I am grateful to Philip Reed for his article ‘Expressivism at the Beginning and End of Life’. His piece compellingly demonstrates the import of expanding analyses concerning the expressivist thesis beyond the reproductive sphere to the end-of-life sphere. I hope that his intervention spurns further work on this connection. In what follows, I want to focus on what I take to be moments of slippage in his use of the concept of disability, a slippage to which many disability theorists succumb. In short, I argue that there are crucial moments in his argument where Reed runs together cases of disability that should be kept distinct—at minimum for the context in which he discusses them. Namely, forms of disability the suffering of which justice can eliminate versus those that ‘no amount of accessibility and social justice could eliminate’.1

Disability studies scholars and philosophers of disability have long noted that certain types of disability are often ‘left …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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