College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

6: Hard and heart-breaking cases: the profoundly disabled as our human equals.

The sixth in Professor Waldron's series of lectures "One Another's Equals: The Basis of Human Equality"examines the variety of human experience and how this variety informs the integrity of basic human equality.

Lecture abstract

Any account of human equality must come to terms with the fact that human lives are lived along a trajectory, at the various stages of which — infancy, childhood, mature adulthood, senescence — we present ourselves as different kinds of human.

Not only that, but humans are subject to the vicissitudes of illness, dementia, and profound disability. Some philosophers take these facts as grounds for denying any distinction between human life as such and the life of other higher animals.

In this final lecture, I shall explore ways of thinking about these aspects of the human condition that allow us to maintain the integrity of basic human equality.

Lecture video