Anita Silvers

Professor and Chair of Philosophy


Office: Humanities 387

Contact: email, and by appointment

Phone: (415) 338-1596




In 2010, Dr. Anita Silvers was awarded the American Philosophical Association's prestigious Quinn Prize. Read more...


  • Aesthetics
  • Bioethics
  • Disability Studies
  • Ethics
  • Feminism
  • Justice Theory
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Social and Political Philosophy



  • BLACKWELL'S GUIDE TO MEDICAL ETHICS, co-edited with Rosamond Rhodes and Leslie Francis (Blackwell Publishers, forthcoming)
  • MEDICINE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: ESSAYS ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF HEALTH CARE, co-edited with Rosamond Rhodes and Peggy Battin (Oxford University Press, 2002)
  • DISABILITY, DIFFERENCE, DISCRIMINATION: PERSPECTIVES ON JUSTICE IN BIOETHICS AND PUBLIC POLICY, co-authored with David Wasserman and Mary Mahowald (Rowman and Littlefield, 1998)
  • PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE: EXPANDING THE DEBATE, co-edited with Margaret Battin and Rosa-mond Rhodes (Routledge, 1998)
  • PUZZLES ABOUT ART, co-authored with Margaret Battin, John Fisher, and Ron Moore (St. Martins Press, 1989)
  • SOCIOBIOLOGY AND HUMAN NATURE, co-edited with Michael Gregory. (Jossey-Bass, 1978)
  • THE RECOMBINANT DNA CONTROVERSY, co-edited with Michael Gregory (NEXA, 1978)

Selected Articles

  • "Historical Vulnerability and Special Scrutiny: Precautions Against Discrimination in Medical Research," AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BIOETHICS, Summer 2004, v. 4, n. 3.
  • "Human Rights and Genetic Discrimination: Protecting Genomics' Promise for Public Health" (with Michael Ashley Stein), THE JOURNAL OF LAW, MEDICINE, AND ETHICS, V. 31, N. 3 2003
  • "On the Possibility and Desirability of Constructing a Neutral Conception of Disability", THEORETICAL MEDICINE & BIOETHICS, V. 24, 2003
  • "Gender and Disability," in BLACKWELL'S COMPANION TO GENDER STUDIES (forthcoming), edited by David Theo Goldberg, Philomena Essed, and Audrey Kobayashi
  • "From Plessy (1896) and Goesart (1948) to Cleburne (1986) and Garrett (2001): A Chill Wind from the Past Blows Equal Protection Away", (with Michael Ashley Stein), in BACKLASH AGAINST THE ADA: REINTERPRETING DISABILITY RIGHTS, edited by Linda Krieger, University of Michigan Press, 2003
  • "An Equality Paradigm for Preventing Genetic Discrimination" (with Michael Ashley Stein), 55 VANDERBILT LAW REVIEW 1341 (2002)
  • "Who Defines 'Enough'?" and "Patients We Love To Hate: The Obese", in MORAL DILEMMAS IN COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE, edited by Becky Cox White and Joel Zimbelman, Longman's Publishing Co., 2003
  • "Missing Links: On Studying the Connection of Arts Education to the Public Good", ARTS EDUCATION POLICY REVIEW, V. 104, N. 3, January/February 2003
  • "Essentially Empirical: The Roles of Biological and Legal Classification in Protecting Against Genetic Discrimination", in PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND DIVERSITY, in Sandra Harding and Robert Figueroa, Routledge, 2003
  • "Disability, Equal Protection, and the Supreme Court: Standing at the Crossroads of Progres-sive and Retrogressive Logic in Constitutional Classification" (with Michael Ashley Stein). UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN JOURNAL OF LAW REFORM, V. 35, n. 1 + 2, Fall 2001/Winter 2002
  • "Convention and Competence: Disability Rights in Sports" (with David Wasserman). ETHICS IN SPORT. Morgan, W. J., Meier, K. V. & Schneider, A.J. (eds). Campaign Illinois: Human Kinetics. 2001
  • "Primary Care Physicians and the Duty to Inform About Genetic Discrimination", The AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BIOETHICS, Summer 2001, v. 1 n. 3
  • "A Neutral Ethical Framework for Understanding the Role of Dis-ability in the Life Cycle", THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BIOETHICS, Summer 2001, v. 1 n. 3
  • "Prescribing Multifunctionalism to Achieve Equality in a World of Difference", HEALTH ETHICS TODAY, V. 12, N. 1, Fall 2001
  • "The Crooked Timber of Humanity: Disability, Ideology and the Aesthetic", POSTMODERNITY: EMBODYING DISABILITY THEORY, edited by Tom Shakespeare and Mairian Corker, Pippin Publishing Corporation, 2002
  • "Women and Disability:, Special Double Issue of HYPATIA, v. 16, n. 4 (Part I) and v. 17, no. 3 (Part II) (edited with Eva Kittay and Susan Wendell)
  • "The Rights of People With Disabilities", THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF PRACTICAL ETHICS, edited by Hugh LaFollette, Oxford University Press, 2002
  • "No Basis for Justice: Equal Opportunity, Normal Functioning, and the Distribution of Health Care", AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BIOETHICS, v. 1, n. 2
  • "Agency, Dependency, and Disability", in THE ENCYLOPEDIA OF ETHICS, 2ND EDITION, ed. by La-wrence and Charlotte Becker, Garland, 2000
  • "Overview: Philosophy and Disability", PHILOSOPHY NOW, Dec 200/Jan 2001, Issue 30
  • "From The Crooked Timber of Humanity, Beautiful Things Can Be Made" in BEAUTY MATTERS: NEW THEORIES OF BEAUTY, edited by Peg Brand. Indiana University Press. 2000
  • "Disability and Biotechnology", co-authored with Ani Satz. in THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOTECHNOLOGY: ETHICAL, LEGAL, AND POLICY ISSUES, edited by Mehlman, Maxwell and Murray, Thomas. John Wiley and Sons, New York, 2000
  • "Normality, Functionality, and the Medical Applications of Genetic Technology", in McKusick, Victor, Mahowald, Mary, Scheurle, Angela, and Aspinwall,Timothy, eds. in GENETICS IN THE CLINIC: CLINICAL, ETHICAL AND SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS FOR PRIMARY CARE. Mosby Press, 2001
  • "Meliorism at the Millennium: Positive Molecular Eugenics and the Promise of Progress Without Excess," in MUTATING CONCEPTS, EVOLVING DISCIPLINES: GENETICS, MEDICINE, AND SOCIETY, ed. Rachel Ankeny and Lisa Parker. Amsterdam: Kluwer, 2003
  • "Disability Rights Today: How Far Have We Come?", co-authored with Leslie Francis. HUMAN RIGHTS, published by the American Bar Association. Winter 2000. v. 27 n.1
  • "Aging Fairly: Feminist and Disability Perspectives on Intergenerational Justice", MOTHER TIME: WOMEN, AGING, AND ETHICS, edited by Margaret Urban Walker, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999
  • "Double Consciousness, Triple Difference: Disability, Race, Gender and the Politics of Recognition", in Jones, Melinda and Lee Ann Marks, (eds.). 1999. DISABILITY, DIVERS-ABILITY,` AND LEGAL CHANGE. Lancaster (UK): Martinus Nijhoff
  • "Multiculturalism and the Aesthetics of Recognition", THE JOURNAL OF AESTHETIC EDUCATION, V. 33, No. 1, 1999
  • "The Double Edge of Convention: Disability Rights in Sports and Education", with David Was-serman. CENTER FOR PHILOSOPHY ANS PUBLIC POLICY, 1998, V. 18 N. 4, reprinted in SOCIETY. Also reprinted in PHILOSOPHICAL DIMENSIONS OF PUBLIC POLICY, ed. by Verna Gehring and William Galston, Policy Studies Review Annual, V. 13, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2002
  • "On Not Iterating Women's Disabilities: A Crossover Perspective on Genetic Dilemmas", in Donchin, Anne and Laura Purdy, (eds.), EMBODYING BIOETHICS: FEMINIST ADVANCES. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998
  • "A Fatal Attraction To Normalizing: Treating Disabilities As Deviations >From 'Species-Typical' Functioning," ENHANCING HUMAN CAPACITIES: CONCEPTUAL COMPLEXITIES AND ETHICAL IMPLICATIONS, ed. by Eric Parens. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 1998
  • "Reprising Women's Disability: Feminist Identity Strategy and Disability Rights", BERKELEY WOMEN'S LAW JOURNAL, Volume 13, 1998
  • "Protecting the Innocents: People With Disabilities and Physician-Assisted Dying," THE WESTERN JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, V. 166, N. 6, June 1997
  • "Disability Rights", THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF APPLIED ETHICS, ed. by Ruth Chadwick. San Diego: Academic Press, Inc., 1997, Vol. I
  • "The Politics of Disability", SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, September 11, 1996
  • "(In)Equality, (Ab)normality, and the 'Americans With Disabilities' Act." THE JOURNAL OF MEDICINE AND PHILOSOPHY, V. 21: 1996. Reprinted in MEANING AND MEDICINE: A READER IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF HEALTH CARE, ed. by James Lindemann Nelson and Hilde Lindemann Nelson. Routledge 1999
  • "Disability", Blackwell's COMPANION TO FEMINIST PHILOSOPHY, ed. by Alison Jaggar and Iris Marion Young, Oxford: Blackwell's Publishing Co., 1998
  • "Feminism and Aesthetics" and "Canons", ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF AESTHETICS, edited by Michael Kelly, Oxford University Press, 1998
  • "Vincent's Story: The Importance of Contextualism in Art Education", THE JOURNAL OF AESTHETIC EDUCATION, Special Issue: Aesthetics for Young People, Vol. 28, No. 3, Fall '94, Reprinted in AESTHETICS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE, edited by Ronald Moore, Urbana: National Art Education Association. 1994
  • "Reconciling Equality To Difference: Caring (F)or Justice For People With Disabilities". HYPATIA, Special Issue on Feminist Ethics and Social Policy, edited by Patrice DiQuinzo and Iris Marion Young, Winter 1995, Vol. 10, No. 1, Reprinted in FEMINIST ETHICS AND SOCIAL POLICY (ed. DiQuinzo and Young), Indiana University Press (1998), Also reprinted IN FEMINIST COMMUNICATION THEORY, (Sage, 2004)
  • "Damaged Goods: Does Disability DisQALYfy People From Just Health Care?", THE MOUNT SINAI JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, Vol. 62, No. 2, 1995
  • "'Defective' Agents: Equality, Difference and the Tyranny of the Normal", THE JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY'S twenty-fifth anniversary issue, June 1994. Reprinted in SOCIAL JUSTICE IN A DIVERSE SOCIETY, edited by Rita Manning and Rene Trujillo, Menlo Park: Mayfield Publishing, 1996
  • "Aesthetics For Art's Sake, Not For Philosophy's", in the special 50th Anniversary Issue of the JOURNAL OF AESTHETICS AND ART CRITICISM, Vol. 51, No. 2, Spring 1993
  • "Canons", edited special issue of THE MONIST, Vol. 76, No. 4.; October 1993
  • "Pure Historicism and the Heritage of Hero(in)es: Who Grows In Phillis Wheatley's Garden?", THE JOURNAL OF AESTHETICS AND ART CRITICISM, Vol. 51, No. 3, Summer 1993
  • "The Artworld", BLACKWELL'S A COMPANION TO AESTHETICS, edited by David Cooper, Basil Blackwell Ltd. Oxford: 1992
  • "Moral Reasoning "and "Legal and Aesthetic Reasoning", co-authored with Sterling Harwood for the third edition of CRITICAL THINKING, by Richard Parker and Brooke Moore. Menlo Park: Mayfield, 1992. Revised for the 4th edition, 1995
  • "Philosophy Enchained". METAPHILOSOPHY, Volume 22, Nos. 1 & 2 (Jan-April 1991)
  • "Philosophy" (co-authored with Robert Audi, Gary Iseminger, Laurence Thomas, and Merrold Westphal) in REPORTS FROM THE FIELDS: PROJECT ON LIBERAL LEARNING, STUDY-IN-DEPTH, AND THE ARTS AND SCIENCES MAJOR (Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges, 1991)
  • "The Story of Art Is The Test Of Time". THE JOURNAL OF AESTHETICS AND ART CRITICISM, Vol. 49, No. 3, Summer, 1991
  • "Has Her(oine's) Time Now Come?", THE JOURNAL OF AESTHETICS AND ART CRITICISM, V. 48, No. 4, Fall 1990.
  • "Politics and the Production of Narrative Identities", PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE, Vol. 14, No. 1, April 1990
  • "Once Upon A Time In The Artworld," in the second edition of AESTHETICS: A CRITICAL ANTHOLOGY edited by Dickie, Sclafani and Roblyn, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989
  • "Aesthetics and the Histories of the Arts", special issue edited for THE MONIST, April 1988, Vol. 71, No. 2
  • "Letting the Sunshine In: Has Analysis Made Aesthetics Clear?", THE JOURNAL OF AESTHETICS AND ART CRITICISM, Special Issue, 1987. Reprinted in John Bender and Gene Blocker, CONTEMPO-RARY PHILOSOPHY OF ART: READINGS IN ANALYTIC AESTHETICS. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Pre-ntice-Hall, 1993
  • "Riding the Next Crest: Training Art Teachers for Leadership In Educational Reform." in The PRESERVICE CHALLENGE: DISCIPLINE-BASED ART EDUCATION AND RECENT REPORTS ON HIGHER EDUCATION. Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Trust, 1988
  • "Why Johnny Can't Paint Like Giotto," THE JOURNAL OF AESTHETIC EDUCATION, Winter 1986
  • "On Deconstructing Children's Theatre," in CHILDREN'S THEATRE, CREATIVE DRAMA AND LEARNING, edited by Judith Kase-Polisini. 1986: University Press of America and the American Theatre Association
  • "How To Avoid Resting Journalism Ethics On A Mistake," THE JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY, Vol. XVI, No. 3, Fall '86; reprinted in ISSUES IN APPLIED ETHICS, ed. by Anthony Serafini, Paragon Press, 1988
  • "Why Philosophers Should Involve Themselves With Teaching Reasoning in the Schools," APA NEWSLETTER ON TEACHING PHILOSOPHY, Spring-Summer 1985; reprinted in THINKING, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1986; also reprinted in FEDERATION REPORTS, July/August 1986
  • "Reflections on the Mutual Benefits of Philosophy and Global Education," TEACHING PHILOSOPHY, April 1985
  • "The Rebirth of Art," in THE DEATH OF ART, edited by Berel Lang, 1984: Haven Press "Ethics and The Modern World, special issue edited for THE MONIST V. 67, N. 4, Oct 1984
  • "The Secret of Style," THE JOURNAL OF AESTHETICS AND ART CRITICISM, Spring 1981
  • "Show and Tell: The Arts, Cognition, and Basic Modes of Referring," THE ARTS, COGNITION, AND BASIC SKILLS, 1978: CEMROL
  • "Professional Press Ethics-A Case of Conflicting Concepts," in SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MASS MEDIA, edited by Allan Casebier, 1978: University Press of America
  • "The Looking Backward Fallacy," THE JOURNAL OF AESTHETICS AND ART CRITICISM, Spring 1977
  • "The Artworld Discarded," THE JOURNAL OF AESTHETICS AND ART CRITICISM, Summer 1976. In Russian translation in AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY OF ART: MAIN CONCEPTIONS OF THE SECOND HALF OF THE 20TH CENTURY, ed. by Bogdan Dzemidok. Moscow: Iskusstvo Art Publishers, 1991)
  • "How Art Instructs," PHILOSOPHIa, October 1975 (Reprinted in THE JOURNAL OF AESTHETIC EDUCATION)
  • "Aesthetic Akrasia: On Disliking Good Art," THE JOURNAL OF AESTHETICS AND ART CRITICISM, Winter 1972