March 1, 2018
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v2.1 Reference

Crippled Grace

Disability, Virtue Ethics, and the Good Life

Crippled Grace combines disability studies, Christian theology, philosophy, and psychology to explore what constitutes happiness and how it is achieved. The virtue tradition construes happiness as whole-of-life flourishing earned by practiced habits of virtue. Drawing upon this particular understanding of happiness, Clifton contends that the experience of disability offers significant insight into the practice of virtue, and thereby the good life.
With its origins in the author's experience of adjusting to the challenges of quadriplegia, Crippled Grace considers the diverse experiences of people with a disability as a lens through which to understand happiness and its attainment. Drawing upon the virtue tradition as much as contesting it, Clifton explores the virtues that help to negotiate dependency, resist paternalism, and maximize personal agency. Through his engagement with sources from Aristotle to modern positive psychology, Clifton is able to probe fundamental questions of pain and suffering, reflect on the value of friendship, seek creative ways of conceiving of sexual flourishing, and outline the particular virtues needed to live with unique bodies and brains in a society poorly fitted to their diverse functioning. 
Crippled Grace is about and for people with disabilities. Yet, Clifton also understands disability as symbolic of the human condition—human fragility, vulnerability, and embodied limits. First unmasking disability as a bodily and sociocultural construct, Clifton moves on to construct a deeper and more expansive account of flourishing that learns from those with disability, rather than excluding them. In so doing, Clifton shows that the experience of disability has something profound to say about all bodies, about the fragility and happiness of all humans, and about the deeper truths offered us by the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love.

About the Author

Shane Cliftonis Professor of Theology at Alphacrucis College in Australia.


"The disability movement has properly chided social structures as well as individuals regarding a common myopia: we see partially. This book furthers that cause by probing the interstices of suffering, pain, rage, and disabled sexuality, carrying us into grace, forgiveness, and the happiness that accompanies virtue. Every page bears and moving accounts of and trenchant insights into human life stripped bare of pretentious prettiness to give us not only hope and courage but the wisdom for rich, full living and for the flourishing of the communities to which we all contribute. It is an honor to be in the author's company. Crippled Grace is simply masterful must-reading for those who suffer or care for those who do."—Ellen T. Charry, Margaret W. Harmon Professor of Systematic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

9781481307468 : crippled-grace-clifton
March 1, 2018
$49.95 USD

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