Call for Papers: Special Issue of Philosophical Inquiry in Education (PIE)

Co-edited by Ashley Taylor (Colgate University) and Kevin McDonough (McGill University)


Intellectual Ability and Disability: New questions for Philosophy of Education

Although philosophy and disability studies have often been regarded as disparate fields, philosophers have become increasingly interested in applying the insights from disability studies scholarship and activism to debates in ethics, political philosophy, epistemology and other sub-disciplines within philosophy.  In turn, these philosophical engagements have themselves enriched scholarship in critical disability studies, feminist disability studies, and disability studies in education (DSE). Certainly some individual philosophers of education have participated in these dialogues and debates, but their work has largely been treated as specialized and even marginal within the field; that is, this work has not been taken up in ways that define, revise, and redefine the field’s central problems and questions, or in ways that challenge the scholarly boundaries of philosophy of education itself. 

One of the interesting challenges of interdisciplinary engagement across these particular disciplines is the different ways that they proceed with respect to their treatment of intellectual disability as a concept.  For example, where philosophers may want to hold open the conceptual content of intellectual disability for analysis, disability studies theorists share a basic – if diversely manifest – theoretical commitment to challenging a deficit view of disability. Such potentially divergent approaches seem fertile ground for analysis, especially given that philosophical work is perhaps most interesting when it confronts apparent tensions or paradoxes. Consider, for example, a generalized agreement that disability is to some (greater or lesser) degree socially constructed and therefore that it need not be accepted “as it is”. Yet if our existing understanding of intellectual disability is untenable as naturalized fact, we are faced with a question: what, then, is intellectual disability? How might educational philosophy and disability studies scholarship collaborate to answer this and other questions?

With this special issue, we call for papers that advance interdisciplinary engagement across these two fields. In particular, we seek submissions from philosophers of education that position analyses of intellectual dis/ability, cognitive dis/ability, autism, able-mindedness (etc.) as central to philosophical work in education. Similarly, we invite submissions from disability studies scholars, disability theorists and critics that engage directly with philosophy of education as a discipline, methodology, and way of knowing about education.  Further, we encourage submissions that engage educational philosophy in ways that centralize, invite, and otherwise generate the participation of labelled individuals in the theorizing and research process. 

Paper Development Workshop

Authors whose papers are selected for this special issue will be invited to a workshop in Summer 2020 in which papers will be discussed, refined, and further revised for publication. Local expenses (hotel, per diem) will be covered for all participants, and airfare will be compensated to an extent depending on the number, location, and academic position of participants.

Details and Timeline

 1. Paper proposals (1000 words max) due December 1, 2019.  Authors will be notified if their proposal is accepted for consideration by December 15, 2019.

 2. First full draft of papers are due March 1, 2020.  After review, 5-7 papers will be conditionally accepted for inclusion in the summer workshop.  Notification:  March 30, 2020.

 3. Authors of conditionally accepted papers will meet to workshop the papers in Summer, 2020.   

 4. Final, revised drafts of papers due October 1, 2020.

 5. The journal is aiming for a publication date of late November, 2020. Completed papers will be maximum 7500 words.