Joel Michael Reynolds is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Disability Studies at Georgetown University, Senior Research Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Senior Bioethics Advisor to The Hastings Center, Faculty Scholar of The Greenwall Foundation, and core faculty in Georgetown’s Disability Studies Program. He is the founder of The Journal of Philosophy of Disability and co-founder of Oxford Studies in Disability, Ethics, and Society from Oxford University Press.

At the broadest level, Dr. Reynolds’ work centers on foundational issues concerning ethics, society, and embodiment. He is especially concerned with the meaning of disability, the issue of ableism, and how philosophical inquiry into each might improve the lives of disabled people and the justness of practices in medicine, science, politics, and law. Seeking to bring reflective and empirical insights together, his research spans the humanities and social sciences, with a special emphasis on the role and import of lived experience. 

Reynolds is the author or co-editor of five books, including The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality (University of Minnesota Press, 2022), The Disability Bioethics Reader (Routledge, 2022), The Art of Flourishing: Conversations on Disability, Technology, and Belonging (Oxford University Press, 2023) The Meaning of Disability (Oxford University Press, 2024), and Philosophy of Disability: An Introduction (Polity, 2024). In 2020, he co-edited a special issue of The Hastings Center Report entitled, “For All of Us? On the Weight of Genomic Knowledge.” Based on his AMA Journal of Ethics piece, “Three Things Clinicians Should Know About Disability,” Dr. Reynolds regularly speaks with and consults for medical educators across specialties concerning how to improve the quality and equity of care for patients with disabilities, including recent talks at the schools of medicine at Yale, Harvard, Tufts, and UCLA and for grand rounds in the USA and Canada, including Brown University’s Department of Emergency Medicine, Kaiser Permanente, Parkland Health & Hospital System, and Horizon Health Network.

Author or co-author of over fifty journal articles, book chapters, and commentaries, Dr. Reynolds’ work appears in The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Biotechnology, Episteme: A Journal of Individual and Social Epistemology, Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy, Journal of Medical Ethics, Critical Philosophy of Race, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, The Hastings Center Report, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, The American Journal of Bioethics, Foucault Studies, Levinas Studies, and Chiasmi International: Trilingual Studies Concerning the Thought of Merleau-Ponty. Current research includes a number of article-length studies as well as book chapters for Philosophical Foundations of Disability Law, Climate Change and Mental Health Equity, The Oxford Handbook of Social Epistemology, The Encyclopedia of Phenomenology, The Routledge Handbook of Non-Ideal Theory, and The Oxford Handbook of Genetic Counseling.

His public scholarship includes pieces in TIME, AEON, The Conversation, Health Progress, The Bioethics Forum, The Philosopher, and a Tedx talk. He is the founder and chair of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy’s Committee on Accessibility, Disability, and Inclusion, chair of the Access Committee for The Association for Feminist Ethics and Social Theory, and he sits on the board of the Society for Philosophy and Disability as well as on the editorial advisory board of The Journal of Human-Technology Relations. He recently completed co-directorship of a multi-year NEH Public Humanities grant project, The Art of Flourishing: Conversations on Disability, Technology, and Belonging, the book form of which will appear from Oxford University Press next year. This fall, he will direct the 46th annual meeting of The International Merleau-Ponty Circle at Georgetown University on the theme, “Fits and Misfits: Rethinking Disability, Debility, and the World with Merleau-Ponty,” the book form of which is planned for SUNY Press.

Dr. Reynolds’ work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Greenwall Foundation. In 2022 he was named an honorary fellow of the McLaughlin College of Public Policy at York University. He earned his B.A. in Philosophy as well as in Religious Studies from the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Emory University. He previously held the inaugural Rice Family Postdoctoral Fellowship in Bioethics and the Humanities at The Hastings Center from 2017-2020 and the inaugural Laney Disability Studies Fellowship at Emory University from 2014-15. You can reach Dr. Reynolds (he/they) by email at joel.reynolds@georgetown.edu