handicap, sexualité et justice


CALL: 2012



LAST NAME: Campagna








Submitted Abstract

As indicated by the title, the research has as its topic the question of disability and access to sexuality. In some countries, as in France, the topic is object of intense social debates. Hence the research activity has a close link to socio-political reality.My approach starts from an institution-based problematization of justice, i.e. I am not primarily asking how individuals schould behave, but how institutions should be framed so as to guarantee to each individual a just access to a basic good, in this context sexual experiences.The book begins by analyzing the three key notions making up its title. Justice is understood in terms of equal access to basic goods for all individuals, independently of their ethnic origin, their religion, or, as in the present case, their (dis)ability. (Dis)ability is analyzed in the second chapter. The concept is highly contested, yet it can be analyzed in such a way that a link with equality can be established. There is disability in a normatively important sense of the term if there is no equal access to a basic good.In the third chapter I discuss the notion of sexuality, and, following Jeremy Bentham, I define sexual activity as an activity directed towards the attainment of sexual pleasure, this latter notion being undefined.Chapter 4 discusses sexuality as something disabling, i.e. as preventing individuals from attaining some basic good. It is a kind of contrast with the following chapters, as it presents thinkers who, rather than insisting on the ethical urgency to provide for everybody an equal access to sexual pleasure want to free the individual from sexual drives, as these stand in the way of the quest for real happiness.The following chapters consider the dominant contemporary perspective which sees sexuality as a core element of individual human self-realization. Chapter 5 discusses the question of the sterilization of mentally handicapped persons and shows that there is no ethically justifiable reason for such a sterilization. Moreover, the chapter pleads for an access to sexuality of mentally disabled people, even, and foremost, those living in institutions.In the next chapter of the book, I discuss the question of sexual or erotic accompaniment, asking, among other things, whether it should be seen as a form of prostitution, whether everybody should have access to it, i.e. whether it should be reimboursed by Social Security organisms, etc. Finally, I discuss what I call disabled sexuality, i.e. the case of persons who, otherwise valid, have a sexual disfunction. Should this be seen as a disability in the full sense of the word, so that Social Security systems should pay for a treatment? Or should it be put on a par with other types of impairments which are not seen as real disabilities.The book is the first full length philosophical analysis of the topic in French. As the bibliography shows, it relies on extensive information from the domains of medecine, social sciences or caring. It should be of interest to ethicists, politicians, people working with handicapped persons and, more generally, public opinion. Though, at least as far as I can see, it meets scientific standards, it is written in a comprehensible way.

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