Joel Reynolds

Dr. Reynolds is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Disability Studies, Senior Research Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Senior Advisor to The Hastings Center, and core faculty in the Disability Studies Program.

Joel Reynolds

He is the founder of The Journal of Philosophy of Disability, which he edits with Teresa Blankmeyer Burke. At the broadest level, Dr. Reynolds' work explores the relationship between bodies, values, and society. He is especially concerned with the meaning of disability, the issue of ableism, and how philosophical inquiry into each might improve the lives of people with disabilities and the justness of institutions ranging from medicine to politics. These concerns lead to research across a range of traditions and specialties, including philosophy of disability, applied ethics (especially biomedical ethics, public health, and ELSI research in genomics), European and American philosophy (with an emphasis on phenomenology and pragmatism as practiced in connection with history of philosophy), and social epistemology (particularly issues of epistemic injustice as linked to social ontology).


Reynolds is the author or editor of six books: The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality (forthcoming March 2022 with University of Minnesota Press), The Disability Bioethics Reader (forthcoming May 2022 with Routledge and co-edited with Christine Wieseler), Philosophy of Disability: An Introduction (forthcoming fall 2023 with Polity), The Art of Flourishing: Conversations on Disability and Technology (forthcoming spring 2023 with Oxford University Press and co-edited with Liz Bowen, Erik Parens, and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson), The Meaning of Disability (under contract with Oxford University Press), and Disability Justice in Emergency Conditions (in preparation and planned for fall 2023). He is also the co-editor of a 2020 special issue of The Hastings Center Report, “For All of Us? On the Weight of Genomic Knowledge," with Erik Parens. Dr. Reynolds regularly speaks to medical students and practitioners across a wide range of specialities concerning how to improve quality and equity of care for patients with disabilities, including recent talks at Yale, Harvard, and UCLA based on his AMA Journal of Ethics piece, “Three Things Clinicians Should Know About Disability.” Reynolds is author or co-author of over three dozen journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries, and his current research includes a number of article-length studies as well as pieces for Philosophical Foundations of Disability LawThe Encyclopedia of PhenomenologyThe Oxford Handbook of Social EpistemologyThe Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Existentialism, and The Oxford Handbook of Genetic Counseling. Recent authored or co-authored articles of his appear in Episteme, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy, Critical Philosophy of Race, Journal of Medical Ethics, Kennedy Institute of Ethics JournalThe Hastings Center ReportFoucault StudiesLevinas Studies, and Chiasmi International: Trilingual Studies Concerning the Thought of Merleau-Ponty. You can access nearly all of these writings through his personal website or PhilPeople profile (both linked above).


Dr. Reynolds' public philosophy has been featured in TIME, HuffPost, AEON, The Conversation, Health Progress, and in a Tedx talk. Currently, he is the co-director of a 2-year NEH Public Humanities grant project, The Art of Flourishing: Conversations on Disability and Technology, chair of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy’s Committee on Accessibility, Disability, and Inclusion, and a board member of the Society for Philosophy and Disability. His work has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Reynolds earned a B.A. in Philosophy as well as in Religious Studies from the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Emory University. From 2017-2020, he was the inaugural Rice Family Postdoctoral Fellow in Bioethics and the Humanities at The Hastings Center and from 2014-15 he was the inaugural Laney Disability Studies Fellow at Emory University.