Hastings Center News
What is Normal? Why Medicine Should Reconsider the Concept
The idea that there’s a normal human body has traditionally been “the glue that renders any given modern concept of health, illness, or disease coherent,” writes Joel Michael Reynolds, the Rice Family Fellow in Bioethics and the Humanities, in the journal of Philosophy, Ethics, Humanities, and Medicine. But the concept of normality is ever-changing: conditions such as deafness, which used to be considered abnormal, are now socially accepted as identities within the typical range of human experience in many places worldwide. Given the fluctuating state of what is considered normal, Reynolds writes that medicine, in both theory and practice, should embrace ambiguity as a central concept. Read the article for free.