Well-being, disability, and choosing children

Matthew J. Barker, Robert A. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Web of Science)


The view that it is better for life to be created free from disability is pervasive in both common sense and philosophy. We cast doubt on this view by focusing on an influential line of thinking that manifests it. That thinking begins with a widely-discussed principle, Procreative Beneficence, and draws conclusions about parental choice and disability. After reconstructing two versions of this argument, we critique the first by exploring the relationship between different understandings of well-being and disability, and the second by focusing briefly on the idea of a significant reason. By placing these results within the broader historical and ongoing contexts in which the lives of those with disabilities have been deemed of inferior quality, we conclude with a call for greater humility about disability and well-being in thought and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-328
Number of pages24
Issue number510
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


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