The Meaning of Disability 
(Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

Philosophy of Disability:
An Introduction 
(Polity, forthcoming)

The Art of Flourishing:
Conversations on Disability, Technology, and Belonging 
(Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

Disability Justice Under Emergency Conditions:
How Public Health Efforts Can Better Support
Disabled People During Crises
(under review)

The Life Worth Living:
Disability, Pain, and Morality 
(University of Minnesota Press, 2022)

The Disability Bioethics Reader
(Routledge, 2022)


The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain and Morality

Out now from The University of Minnesota Press!

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Ableist Conflation

Part I. Pain

1. Theories of Pain

2. A Phenomenology of Chronic Pain

Part II. Disability

3. Theories of Disability

4. A Phenomenology of Multiple Sclerosis

Part III. Ability

5. Theories of Ability

6. A Phenomenology of Ability

Conclusion: An Anti-Ableist Future

Praise for The Life Worth Living:

“Joel Michael Reynolds is the perfect guide to take us through debates surrounding disability and moral philosophy, debates based on unjust assumptions made millennia ago.”
Combined Academic Publishers

“Joel Michael Reynolds’s The Life Worth Living is the most insightful analysis of pain since Elaine Scarry’s The Body in Pain. His phenomenology of foreboding, beholdenness, bioreckoning, and disruption is brilliant. And his critical engagement with ableist assumptions that run throughout the history of thought and continue into contemporary medical discourses powerfully demonstrates that these discourses continue to conflate disability, pain, and harm in ways that devalue ‘disabled’ lives.”
—Kelly Oliver, Vanderbilt University

“In this philosophically ambitious and deeply personal book, Joel Michael Reynolds exposes the ableist mistake that has afflicted philosophy at least since Socrates asked what makes a life worth living. To repair the damage done by that mistake, Reynolds exhorts us to stop looking for the worth of human lives in individual ‘normate’ bodies and to start building systems of access and care that make it possible for people with all sorts of bodies to flourish. Anyone committed to understanding what disability justice requires should read this book.”
—Erik Parens, director, The Hastings Center Initiative in Bioethics and the Humanities

  • Named an “Essential 2022 Read” by Combined Academic Publishers
  • Author Meets Critics Book Panel: Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, 2023
  • Author Meets Critics Book Panel: Eastern American Philosophical Association, 2024
  • Interviewed by George Yancy, Truthout
  • Interviewed by Sarah Vitale, Radical Philosophy Hour
  • Interviewed by Autumn Wilke, The New Books Network
  • Interviewed by PJ Wehry, Chasing Leviathan
  • Interviewed by Louise Kinross, Bloom
  • Interviewed by Leigh Johnson, Rick Lee, & Charles Peterson, Hotel Bar Sessions
  • Interviewed by Christine Wisehart, Examining Ethics
  • Interviewed by Elizabeth Barnes, The Philosopher

Also, importantly, an endorsement from Schnerp:


The Disability Bioethics Reader

Out now with Routledge!

The Disability Bioethics Reader is the first introduction to the field of bioethics presented through the lens of critical disability studies and the philosophy of disability. It is designed with the diverse needs of college, university, and medical educators across fields and specialties.

Table of Contents

Part I: History, Medicine, and Disability

1. A Short History of Modern Medicine and Disability
Michael Rembis

2. Eugenics, Disability, and Bioethics
Robert Wilson

3. Theories of Disability
Joel Michael Reynolds

Part II: Bioethics: Past & Present

4. A Critical History of Bioethics
John Evans

5. Methods of Bioethics
Alison Reiheld

6. Disability Bioethics: From Theory to Practice
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson

Part III: Philosophy of Medicine & Phenomenology

7. Disability and the Definition of Health
Sean Aas

8. The Lived Experiences of Illness and Disability
Havi Carel

Part IV: Prenatal Testing and Abortion

9. Abortion, Disability Rights, and Reproductive Justice
Elizabeth Dietz

10. A Fatal Attraction to Normalizing: Treating Disabilities as Deviations from “Species-Typical” Functioning
Anita Silvers

11. Being Disabled and Contemplating Disabled Children
Jackie Leach Scully

12. The Wrongs of Wrongful Birth: Disability, Race, and Reproductive Justice
Desiree Valentine

Part V: Disability, The Life Course, and Well-Being

13. Disability, Ideology, and Quality of Life: A Bias in Biomedical Ethics
Ron Amundson

14. The Challenge of Chronic Pain
Emma Sheppard

15. Chronic Illness and Well-Being
Lydia Nunez Landry

16. Disability and Aging Studies: Obstacles and Opportunities
Erin Lamb

Part VI: Issues at the Edge & End of Life

17. Death, Pandemic, and Intersectionality: What the Failures in an End-of-Life Case Can Teach About Structural Justice and COVID-19
Yolonda Wilson

18. Disorders of Consciousness, Disability Rights, and Triage during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Even the Best of Intentions Can Lead to Bias
Joseph J. Fins

19. Bioethical Issues in Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Tia Powell

20. Between “Aid in Dying” and “Assisted Suicide”: Disability Bioethics and the Right to Die
Harold Braswell

21. Theorizing the Intersections of Ableism, Sanism, Ageism and Suicidism in Suicide and Physician-Assisted Death Debates
Alexandre Baril

Part VII: Disability, Difference, and Healthcare

22. Disability Bioethics and Race
Andrea Pitts

23. Bioethics and the Deaf Community
Teresa Blankmeyer Burke

24. Hunger Always Wins: Contesting the Medicalization of Fat Bodies
Anna Mollow

25. Trans Care within and against the Medical-Industrial Complex
Hil Malatino

Part VIII: Intellectual and Mental Disabilities

26. Defining Mental Illness & Psychiatric Disability
Laura Guidry-Grimes

27. Research Ethics and Intellectual Disability: Finding the Middle Ground between Protection and Exclusion
Kevin Mintz and David Wasserman

28. Inconvenient Complications to Patient Choice and Psychiatric Detention: An Auto-Ethnographic Account of Mad Carework
Erica Hua Fletcher

29. Disability Bioethics, Ashley X, and Disability Justice for People with Cognitive Impairments
Christine Wieseler

Part IX: Disability Bioethics: Connections & New Directions

30. Feminist Theorizing and Disability Bioethics
Lauren Guilmette

31. Disability Bioethics and Epistemic Injustice
Anita Ho

32. Disability Studies Meets Animal Studies
David Peña-Guzmán

Part X: The Ends of Medicine: Caring, Curing, and Justice

33. Improving Access within the Clinic
Nicole D. Agaronnik and Lisa I. Iezzoni

34. The Goals of Medical Technology
Joseph A. Stramondo

35. “Why Insist on Justice, Why Not Settle for Kindness?” Kindness, Justice, and Cognitive Disability
Eva Feder Kittay

36. Selections of Brilliant Imperfection
Eli Clare