Against performance criteria
DOI link for Against performance criteria
Against performance criteria book
This chapter argues that critical animal studies and critical disability studies scholars share a common goal of dismantling the disembodied, universal subject of ethics. Nearly all the arguments used to justify the domination of animals and people with disabilities rely on the hierarchical comparison of capacities deemed essential to human life, such as rationality, language use, and independence. Beings who lack these traits exist outside the protections of moral responsibility. I argue against the use of such speciesist and ableist performance tests for inclusion in the moral community. The argument begins with a review of the literature on animality, disability, and moral status, identifying two common frameworks for thinking about moral considerability: the Capacity Criterion and the Species Affinity Approaches. Next, I show that both of these approaches rely on humanist, performance-based criteria. I conclude by arguing against these moralities of competition in order to advance an inclusive, embodied ethics that calls for a Precautionary Principle of Moral Status.