Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 25 (5):569 – 580 (2000)

This study examines the ends of medical intervention and argues that mainstream contemporary medicine assumes that appropriate ends may be discovered (i.e., naturalism), rather than created or decided upon (i.e., conventionalism). The essay then applies these considerations to the problem of the demarcation of the normal from the pathological. I argue that the common formulations of this dispute commit a fallacy, as they characterize the "normal" as a state of the organism and not as an ongoing process within it. Such a process may be characterized as self-creation and self-repair. Such considerations support the conclusion that normality may be regarded as a regulative idea, rather than as an end-state, and as part of the ends of medical intervention, depending upon choice and context.
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DOI 10.1076/0360-5310(200010)25:5;1-W;FT569
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