Elisabeth Lloyd's Argument in Outline

Occasional materials from lecture will be posted here, e.g., reading outlines
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:59 pm

Elisabeth Lloyd's Argument in Outline

Postby ShawnMiller » Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:53 pm

Normality and Variation: The Human Genome Project and the Ideal Human Type
  • Normality, health and disease (NHD) can't be determined by some "pre-given" objective scientific standard (99)
  • Biological and medical reasoning about genetics has inherent risks (100)
  • Judgements about NHD necessitate classification (100)
  • Classification in biology relies on idea of proper function (100)
  • HGP wanted to define NHD in molecular terms but those are different standards than used in physiology (101-102)
  • Moving diagnosis down to molecular level does not avoid value judgements (102)
  • The only sense biochemical causal models (used by HGP) can make of "abnormal" is variation (104)
  • Abnormality as mere variation does not address or capture proper function (104)
  • Proper function "must be defined in terms of the physiological functions of the resultant protein" (104)
  • Socially negotiated standards determine what is proper function (106)
  • Different areas of biology -- population genetics, development and embryology, etc. -- use "function" in different ways, i.e., are pluralist (108)
  • Errors in reasoning occur when distinct biological usages of function (and, thus, normal) are used, e.g., when "abnormal" gene sequences is seen as inevitably causing "abnormal" physiological function such as cancer (112)
  • We can't infer medical abnormality from genetic abnormality (112)
  • "Molecular biology cannot provide an objective and scientific code of health and normality. The scientific ability to make fine discriminations of variation and the technological power to act on them makes it imperative that variation itself be the focus of a searching public debate and educational effort" (112)

Return to “Lecture Items”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest