Normal Functioning and the Treatment/Enhancement Distinction: An Opportunity Based Assessment

J Relig Health. 2014 Aug;53(4):1214-22

Posted: 8 Nov 2014

See all articles by Mary Simmerling

Mary Simmerling

Adler University; Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medical College

Jonathan Huggins

Cornell University - Weill Cornell Medical College

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

As genome mapping technology uncovers the roots of pathologic and physiologic human functioning, important questions are brought to the fore concerning our conceptualization of ideas such as disease, treatment, and enhancement. In 1985, Norman Daniels proposed a normal-functioning model that expands John Rawls' theory of justice to obligate the provision of health care based on the constraints disease places on individual opportunity, but also limits the commitment of the medical establishment by focusing on states that represent deviations from normal human function. While some argue that the boundaries of medical institutions' commitment to provide services within a normal-functioning model are arbitrary, the degree to which these concerns truly threaten the framework is often exaggerated in special cases put forward in the literature. Furthermore, the normal-functioning model provides a comprehensive basis for agreement in discussions of medicine's commitment to the demands of social justice where resources are limited and avoids the dangerous overextension of the healthcare system and medicalization to which more expansive models are exposed.

Suggested Citation

Simmerling, Mary and Huggins, Jonathan, Normal Functioning and the Treatment/Enhancement Distinction: An Opportunity Based Assessment (2014). J Relig Health. 2014 Aug;53(4):1214-22, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2520250

Mary Simmerling

Adler University ( email )

17 N. Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medical College ( email )

1300 York Avenue
New York, NY 10065
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://vivo.weill.cornell.edu/display/cwid-mcs2006

Jonathan Huggins (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Weill Cornell Medical College ( email )

1300 York Avenue
New York, NY 10065
United States

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