Increasingly, Deaf activists claim that it can be good to be Deaf. Still, much of the hearing world remains unconvinced, and continues to think of deafness in negative terms. I examine this debate and argue that to determine whether it can be good to be deaf it is necessary to examine each claimed advantage or disadvantage of being deaf, and then to make an overall judgment regarding the net cost or benefit. On the basis of such a survey I conclude that being deaf may plausibly be a good thing for some deaf people but not for others.
This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Medicine and Philosophy following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Cooper, Rachel Can it be a good thing to be deaf? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 2007 32 (6): 563-583 is available online at: http://jmp.oxfordjournals.org/content/32/6/563.abstract