Why? Radio episode 97: Philosophy and Disability with guest Anita Silvers



Episode 97:
Philosophy and Disability

Anita Silvers

Originally recorded: December 9, 2016

Originally broadcast: December 11, 2016


In 2003 there was a fire at a Russian boarding school, 28 deaf children were killed. In a published analysis, two philosophers claimed that it was their deafness that caused their death. They had to be woken up individually and they couldn’t hear instructions to run. The rest was inevitable. Anita Silvers not only takes issue with this interpretation, but describes this analysis as emblematic of everything wrong about our thinking on disability. On this episode of Why? we talk with her about the philosophical errors in our discussions about the disabled and how to learn from these mistakes.

Anita Silvers is professor and chair of the philosophy department at San Francisco State University. She has authored, coauthored, and edited many books and articles. Her professional website is here . She is a nationally recognized advocate for disability rights with a scholarly emphasis on medical ethics, bioethics, social and political philosophy, and feminism.

The text of this episode's monologue can be found here at our blog, PQED.

We at Why? Radio would like to extend a special welcome to the California State University community. We are grateful that all of you have sought us out and hope that you learn as much as we did from our conversation with Anita. Please do check out our entire archive of past shows. There, you can find more episodes on diversity issues, but also plenty of discussions on art, history, university life, politics, and much more.

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