II. The Normal, the Natural, and the Human Body

For the next couple of weeks, we are going to talk about ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ human bodies, and what it is ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’ to do to them.  More particularly, then, we will raise these issues by looking at the two sides of human ‘abnormality’: disability and enhancement.  Both sides bring a host of moral philosophical and bioethical issues.  To help us prepare before these discussions, Dr. Maggie Little is back again.


Bioethical discussion of both disability and enhancement are broad in a variety of ways.  Some of what we want to know about these issues concerns us, in the here and now, and some of it concerns future generations and what we want our world to look like.  I will follow a similar pattern in both of these sections, trying to do some conceptual ground-clearing up front, so that we can ask both present focused questions — What should we think about disability and enhancement right now? — and future looking questions — What does clear thinking about disability and enhancement imply about our reproductive practices?

Ready?  Let’s dive in!

1. Disability

2. Enhancement