Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Intellectual disabilityA conceptual history, 1200-1900$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Patrick McDonagh, C. F. Goodey, and Tim Stainton

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526125316

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526125316.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 16 January 2022

‘A Defect in the Mind’: Cognitive Ableism in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels

‘A Defect in the Mind’: Cognitive Ableism in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels

Chapter:
(p.104) 6 ‘A Defect in the Mind’: Cognitive Ableism in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels
Source:
Intellectual disability
Author(s):

D. Christopher Gabbard

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526125316.003.0006

While John Locke’s impact on Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, an eighteenth-century satire, is a well-worn topic of scholarly discussion, Gulliver as the butt of a satire concerning an important aspect of Lockean epistemology has not been considered. In the 1690 Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke distinguishes between person (an abstract thinker) and man (an individual with a human shape but little capacity for thought). Locke’s differentiation underwrites the modern concept of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Cognitive ableism is the belief in the superiority of person over man, of the thinker over the individual with less capacity for thought. Approaching Book Four of the Travels from a disability studies perspective, this chapter argues that Locke’s person/man binary broadly comes into play, that the character of Gulliver straddles the person/man divide, and that his characterization parodies Locke’s distinction. Book Four satirizes cognitive ableism through its protagonist, who exhibits an extreme form of it.

Keywords:   John Locke, Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Satire, cognitive ableism, intellectual disability, developmental disability, eighteenth century

Manchester Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.