Philosophy as Disability & Exclusion

By:
Simon Hayhoe, Canterbury Christ Church University / London School of Economics

Published 2015

Philosophy as Disability and Exclusion examines the history of ideas on arts in the education of people who are blind in England, from 1688 to 2010. This book also examines a number of the earlier influences on the enlightenment, and the international context of this topic. The two hypotheses on which this study is based are:

(1) Our understanding of blindness in English intellectual culture is less to do with homologous physical characteristics. Instead it is more to do with an ethical philosophy of human capacity.

(2) The arts education of people who are blind through touch tells us much about our psychology of mythologies and the intellectual construction of human thought. Furthermore, the myth that people who are blind are incapable of visual arts and have an enhanced capacity for the musical arts is one of the most engrained modern folklores. It is part of our cultural, intellectual and philosophical conscience.

In the process of investigating these hypotheses, this book argues that philosophies have linked immorality, intelligence and physical ability. These have become connected in ways that are unrelated to eyesight in order to fulfill broader cultural processes of developing social theory. In this book, the process of knowledge creation is termed passive exclusion and is analyzed through an epistemological model of examining disability and exclusion.

CONTENTS
Dedication. Acknowledgements. Preface. Chapter 1: Introduction. SECTION 1: PHILOSOPHICAL AND COGNITIVE STUDIES OF BLINDNESS, TOUCH AND ART Chapter 2: The epistemological model of understanding disability and passive exclusion. Chapter 3: Epistemologies and ontologies of blindness, from da Vinci to Diderot. Chapter 4: A history of empirical research on blindness, touch and the arts, from Charlton Deas to Kennedy and Spence. SECTION 2: AN EXAMINATION OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF ENGLISH INSTITUTIONS FOR THE BLIND Chapter 5: The Philosophies of English Institutions for the Blind. Chapter 6: Creative and Imaginative Education in English Schools for the Blind. Chapter 7: Legal Inclusion in English Education. Chapter 8: The Development of Inclusion in English Museums, Galleries and Monuments. SECTION 3: CONCLUSION Chapter 9: Conclusion. References. Index. Glossary.

REVIEWS
"In Philosophy as Disability & Exclusion: The Development of Theories on Blindness, Touch, and the Arts in England, 1688-2010, Simon Hayhoe takes his readers on an intellectually stimulating journey over three centuries of philosophy. This philosophical thought still influences present day knowledge and the practice of arts education for the blind in England. The author argues that these philosophies have overwhelmingly “linked immorality, intelligence, and physical ability” (p. 2). Hayhoe expresses several goals in writing his text: (a) furthering an understanding of accessibility in the field of disability, (b) uncovering the historical epistemology of disability with its influence on culture and institutions that serve people with disabilities, and (c) reconsidering the ability of people with disabilities to access cultural institutions. His overarching call is for a “new epistemological method of studying difference and ability in humans” (p. 154) to bridge social divisions, rather than relying on stereotypical understandings of morality and ability. The book is divided into three sections. It moves from a wide scope of dense epistemologies and philosophies emerging since the Enlightenment to practical examples of institutions influenced by this thinking." Jessica Bacon & Jaclyn Ingoglia Montclair State University in Teachers College Record