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Citations since 2016
8 Research Items
September 2012 - May 2020
- Phenomenology & Existentialism (2018) Philosophy & Literature (2017-18) Feminist Legal Theory (2016) Philosophy of Interpretation (2014) Rationalism & Empiricism (2014) Introduction to Greek Philosophy (2013)
This paper discusses how everyday technologies contribute to the enaction of disability, in particular by continually frustrating the formation of a general sense of ease in the world. It suggests that bodies have a fundamental relationality, within which technology comprises a central aspect; and that the very entity called the human is constitute...
'Inhuman’ can denote that something is dehumanising or that it lies outside of the category ‘human’. In the first sense, it could refer to the kind of inhuman gaze proposed by Maurice Merleau-Ponty. This pins another down as an object, denuding them of their full significance, and thereby precludes the conditions necessary for a fully human ethical...
Disability is a consistent topic of concern within philosophical ethics (including medical and applied ethics, and bioethics). In many cases, however, it is viewed as a misfortune, and an impediment to well-being. This is because matters of the good human life turn on some criterion—rational autonomy, say, or personhood—that distinguishes good from...
In this paper I talk about very basic kinds of technology, and how these contribute to the enaction of disability. I first sketch some commonplaces concerning the body and technology, before outlining my own position on these: that the body has a fundamental relationality, of which technology comprises an aspect. Then I outline inter-mundane techno...
This paper addresses disability and technology through the work of Gilbert Simondon. Here, an individual—living or technical—is not a self-contained substance, but one phase in a process of individuation, relative to what he calls the preindividual: a share of unfixed potential for becoming, that makes individuation’s trajectory, in principle, open...
Presentation from workshop with Donald A. Landes (Université Laval, Quebec) on his book 'Merleau-Ponty and the Paradoxes of Expression', at University College Dublin on 18 May 2016. Organised by Luna Dolezal (Trinity College, Dublin / Durham University) and Danielle Petherbridge (University College Dublin).
This paper examines how abiding concepts of ability and function contribute to identification of impairment with deviation from normal health, then posits ‘normal ability’ as a socio- historical elaboration, and finally outlines an alternative normative framework grounded in capacities and goals of embodied agents. In standard medical accounts dis...
Note: This paper was the award winning entry in the Social Studies category of the 2011 Undergraduate Awards of Ireland and Northern Ireland which the author completed as part of his studies at the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast. Despite consistent efforts to counteract those attitudes and practices...
I am currently an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholar in the School of Philosophy, University College Dublin. This thesis claims that disability is not a natural and ahistorical fact about bodies, and that, as such, bodies do not sort into normal and disabled kinds. It instead claims that disability is something that happens to bodies in concrete socio-historical conditions. It takes as its starting point the notion that disability is socially constructed; however, it draws on phenomenology and actor-network theory to offer an alternative account of such construction. This approach foregrounds practice, centrally involves the role of technologies, and retains a focus upon material differences between bodies (without reducing them to brute objects). It suggests that the objects and environments of everyday reality are enacted: they are the stabilised effects of practices that order and distribute various elements, including technologies. How reality gets ordered, however, involves implicit ideas about the human. I suggest that abiding and apparently insuperable divisions—between ability and disability, normal and abnormal, fully and ambiguously human—are effects of practices that distribute relations among many elements, including bodies, around various notions of what is proper for humans. As such, disability categories do not describe underlying natural entities, but are the effects of associations among bodies, knowledges, and technologies. Second, ordinary environments are also distributed around typical bodies (that are strongly identified with full and normal humanity). These distributions enable them, while disabling those who are atypically embodied. The thesis starts with existing debates within disability studies about whether disability is natural or constructed, and notes how these understand embodiment and construction. It moves on to challenge ideas about biological norms, and then develops its own account of embodiment (as fundamentally open and involving habituated relationships with things outside the body) and construction (as the arrangement of diverse elements, including technologies, in some cases to produce stable and seemingly natural entities). It maintains its focus upon distribution and ordering, to consider how such arrangements bring about disability categories, as well as the organisation of ordinary environments. The latter not only fail to accommodate atypical bodies, but prevent them from acquiring a habituated sense of ease in the world more generally. Thereafter, it considers several ways that divisions are practically produced between ‘normal’ humanity and disability. Finally, it turns toward ethics, and brings together what I said thus far about disability with feminist theories of vulnerability. It claims that while all bodies are vulnerable, for some this is mitigated by how the world is ordered; for others, this ordering exposes or even produces vulnerability.