Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 18 (3):389-394 (2021)

The term “normal” is culturally ubiquitous and conceptually vague. Interestingly, it appears to be a descriptive-normative-hybrid which, unnoticedly, bridges the gap between the descriptive and the normative. People’s beliefs about normality are descriptive and prescriptive and depend on both an average and an ideal. Besides, the term has generally garnered popularity in medicine. However, if medicine heavily relies on the normal, then it should point out how it relates to the concept of health or to statistics, and what, after all, normal means. Most importantly, the normativity of the normal needs to be addressed. Since the apparently neutral label “normal” can exclude, stigmatize, and marginalize people who are defined in contrast to it as abnormal, health professionals should think twice before using the term with patients. The present critical perspective advocates against using the term “normal,” as long as no understanding of a person’s individual normality has been attained. It advocates for the right to autonomously determine one’s own normality. For health professionals I do not see worthwhile benefits of subscribing to the concept of “normality” and imposing it on their patients. But I do see many risks.
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DOI 10.1007/s11673-021-10122-2
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References found in this work BETA

Against Normal Function.Ron Amundson - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 31 (1):33-53.

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The Pensive Gaze.Michael A. Ashby & Bronwen Morrell - 2021 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 18 (3):365-370.

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