A Life Beyond Reason

A Life Beyond Reason and the Life Worth Living - Feb 26, 2020  

Life Beyond Reason Poster

Chris Gabbard discussed his book, A Life Beyond Reason: A Father’s Memoir (Beacon Press, 2019).
A scholar of British Enlightenment literature, he describes the radically mismanaged delivery of his son at a major medical institution, resulting in H.I.E. (hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy). Medically complex and profoundly impaired, the boy, August, lived for fourteen years. Gabbard will speak about the paradoxically luminous consequences of this catastrophe.

Shortly after the birth, his interests veered into Disability Studies, and eventually he began to question Socrates’s dictum that “The unexamined life is not worth living,” asking himself for the first time if this supposedly universal truth was true. His son would never be able to examine his life; did this mean that his life was not worth living? Because he knew his son well, he became aware that he had insights into the question that others did not have. Ultimately, he came to recognize the fetishizing of intelligence that grew out of the Enlightenment and the invidious consequences of this fetishizing for neurodiverse people. Gabbard will speak about the realizations emerging from life with his son.

Please read the Chronicle of Higher Education Article by Chris Gabbard..."While August has limited what I can accomplish in my academic career, he also has broadened my teaching and scholarship. In order to explain how he has done so, ..."