‘Common Sense’ Reasoning Favors The Majority
A short article on why ‘Common Sense’ reasoning will mean that mentally disabled people will always be in the wrong.
To anyone who studies social sciences, this statement is blatantly obvious, but even so I will find people who think that this doesn’t (or shouldn’t) apply in deeply personal contexts, such as in the goings on in a household. However this logic is deeply flawed in the context of the interaction between disabled and non disabled individuals, because simply put, not everyone is working through the same frameworks. Even if it’s understood that they’re working in the same cultural contexts, sub-cultural contexts, etc..
A good example of this is the interactions between Autistic and Non-Autistic (Allistic) individuals. Autistic people often experience a large degree of social ostracization and a lack of social understanding from their peers for largely differences in communication and thought patterns, and different sensory needs that lead to different habits. From this we can assume (and back up from many Autistic individual’s attested experiences) that this will lead to a fundamentally different framework.
Lets give an example of an Autistic individual who, because of her sensory differences, frequently ends up putting too much or too little pressure on things she touches, and subsequently with more fragile objects, ends up breaking said objects. Lets say she ends up breaking the favorite figurine of her roommate, and this roommate has witnessed her breaking other things in the past. Her roommate responds fairly hostility even though a claim could be made that this was an accident, but in the roommate’s view at this point she should of been more careful since this was a clear pattern, so therefore she is at least at fault and therefore should take responsibility.
Now she potentially has a few ways to respond, but two in particular could be that: (1) She apologizes because she is genuinely sorry, but points out that that logic is flawed because that implies that the situation was completely unavoidable by her choice, and the only way that that could possibly by process of elimination is that she avoid the area in which said figurine was present, or that she somehow magically become allistic, and (2) She apologize and take full responsibility, and take the onslaught of her roommate’s anger that they are about to inflict.
(2) is the more likely response a person in this situation would give, and especially a disabled person despite if they have any misgivings about it and despite that while they have misgivings, they still may be sorry. (1) is almost never said in conversation by anyone that doesn’t want to further enrage someone in this situation, but the thing about (2), is that this is the common sense response.
To anyone who isn’t disabled and to some disabled folk, (1) seems like a response that’s logical structure is invalid because of how extreme it sounds, however the response to (1) is often that just because someone might not have complete control in the situation, they still have the ability to change their patterns in that situation in future anticipation. This works when actions are clearly predictable and we have a consensus on how that change works, however, often for Autistic people and other mentally disabled individuals, this reliability breaks down due to a lack of predictability, and despite what people may often think, a lack of an ability to create that predictability in Autistic-to-Non-Autistic interactions.
To a lot of Autistic people and other disabled individuals, this is almost a constant and every day experience, which is not well understood by Neurotypicals, and often they report of social isolation and ostracization, and from my own experience and talking with other people, a constant pattern of rejection and application of this logic onto plenty of conflict. Additionally from what I can gather about my own experience in majority-disabled communities and what I’ve talked about with other people, such constructed environments have significantly less amounts of these types of conflicts.
Another argument can be made against this that even if this is true, there should be still a moral expectation that the disabled person in question should be treated as if they were, because doing otherwise would be tantamount to taking their humanity away. However this logic is flawed in that a uniform understanding of what makes the human in this context, should be applied. Different treatment of disabled people can exist without it being dehumanizing, and in a moral context, to the disabled person should exist over the binary alternative. As an example of this extreme, Autistic people are often regarded as being so close to neurotypicals in experience as to be treated the same as them, or to be considered near inhuman, depending on the ‘severity’.
Ultimately this is what I mean when I say that Common Sense reasoning is flawed in the context of disabled people, and why application of philosophical analysis is necessary, because the kind of predictability and uniformity of frameworks is missing when conflicts arise between disabled and non-disabled individuals.