Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Jeff Noonan


Accessibility, Coherent Inclusivity, Disability, Life-Value Ethics, Plastic Straws




This project takes a comprehensive approach to the application of life-value ethics to matters of disability. I overview the philosophical foundation of my approach, life-value ethics, in its different dimensions. I explore the distinction between life-requirements and need-satisfiers. Life-requirements are the fundamental needs shared by all human being whereas need-satisfiers are the tools by which we access our life-requirements in specific circumstances. After exploring this philosophical groundwork, I address the social, medical, and value-neutral models of disability. I support a synthesis of the social and medical models of disability, but I believe that Elizabeth Barnes's value-neutral model in its rejection of the idea that being disabled is necessarily bad helps to overcome the medicalized belief that the only way to fully realize life-value is to eliminate disability. Hence, it is primarily the value-neutral model that I use to show how a life-value approach can address matters of accessibility and accommodation. As a way of demonstrating the merits of a life-value approach, I apply life-value ethics to the recent policies banning single-use plastic straws. Even though plastic straws do not represent the biggest threat to the environment, they are a primary target of environmentalist initiatives to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering our oceans. It can be shown that plastic straws act as need-satisfiers for disabled people with neurological and muscular impairments. In addition, I contend that by using the concept of coherent inclusivity, we can show that making these need-satisfiers accessible to the public will not only avoid causing harm, but will also help to provide alternative need-satisfiers to our ageing population.