Accounting for the Relationship of Autonomy and Ability

I gave a presentation, provocatively titled “Does Disability Decrease Autonomy?”, at the Justice and Political Psychology symposium (University of Turku, October 15th through 16th). My aim was to sketch out the kinds of abilities that individual-centered, rationality-based accounts of autonomy present as prerequisites for the capacity for autonomy, and then to problematise that taxonomy from the point of view of relational autonomy.

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What do we talk about when we talk about enhanced punishments?

What if science would provide us with new ways to handle convicted criminals? Philosopher Rebecca Roache, along with a team of scholars at the Oxford Uehiro Center for Practical Ethics, has explored ways to create sentences worthy of sadistic criminals such as Hitler: Dr. Roache’s post on the Practical Ethics blog outlines how lifespan extension could enable life sentences spanning hundreds of years, while the technology of mind uploading could be used to create a simulated sentence of 1000 years of punishment, followed by few hundred years of rehabilitation – all in the matter of a few real-time hours. Psychoactive drugs could be adminstered to slow down the inmate’s perception of time and maximize experience of monotony. Also, robot prison officers could be employed to make the prison experience as unpleasant as possible, given that employing human prison guards necessitates keeping the prison humane enough for the personnel’s well-being. (Sic.)

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