Feminist ethics and the metaphor of AIDS

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 26 (4):343 – 364 (2001)
Abstract
This paper looks at a range of metaphors used within HIV/AIDS discussions and research in support of the claim that bioethicists should pay serious attention to metaphors. Metaphors shape the ways we think about problems and the types of solutions we investigate. HIV/AIDS is an especially rich field for the investigation of metaphor, since the struggles for dominance among different metaphorical options has been very evident. In the field of medical resarch as well as in the area of public policy, different metaphors support different strategies and, therefore, the choice of metaphor has ethical significance. I argue that feminists should engage in these debates since they have an interest in the metaphors selected. They can also learn to be more self-conscious in choosing politically liberating metaphors in other bioethics contexts.
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