Reimagining Childhood: Responding to the Challenge Presented by Severe Developmental Disability

Reimagining Childhood: Responding to the Challenge Presented by Severe Developmental Disability Through an exploration of the experience of severe and profound intellectual disability, this essay will attempt to expose the predominant, yet usually obscured, medical anthropology of the child and examine its effects on pediatric bioethics. I will argue that both modern western society and modern western medicine do, actually, have a robust notion of the child, a notion which can find its roots in three influential thinkers: Aristotle, Immanuel Kant and Jean Piaget. Together, these philosophers offer us a compelling vision: the child is primarily a future rational, autonomous adult. While this tacit understanding has arguably widespread effects on such things as our concept of good parenting, of proper schooling, and so on, I will focus on the effect is has on the treatment of children with severe developmental disabilities. When examined in light of this population, the dominant medical anthropology of the child will be shown to be deficient. Instead, I argue for an expansion—indeed, a full reimagining—of our notions of childhood, not only to re-infuse dignity into the lives of children with SDD, but to better represent the goods of childhood, generally. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png HEC Forum Springer Journals

Reimagining Childhood: Responding to the Challenge Presented by Severe Developmental Disability

HEC Forum , Volume 29 (3) – Jun 2, 2017
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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Philosophy; Ethics; Medical Law; Philosophy of Medicine; Theory of Medicine/Bioethics
ISSN
0956-2737
eISSN
1572-8498
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10730-017-9331-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Through an exploration of the experience of severe and profound intellectual disability, this essay will attempt to expose the predominant, yet usually obscured, medical anthropology of the child and examine its effects on pediatric bioethics. I will argue that both modern western society and modern western medicine do, actually, have a robust notion of the child, a notion which can find its roots in three influential thinkers: Aristotle, Immanuel Kant and Jean Piaget. Together, these philosophers offer us a compelling vision: the child is primarily a future rational, autonomous adult. While this tacit understanding has arguably widespread effects on such things as our concept of good parenting, of proper schooling, and so on, I will focus on the effect is has on the treatment of children with severe developmental disabilities. When examined in light of this population, the dominant medical anthropology of the child will be shown to be deficient. Instead, I argue for an expansion—indeed, a full reimagining—of our notions of childhood, not only to re-infuse dignity into the lives of children with SDD, but to better represent the goods of childhood, generally.

Journal

HEC ForumSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 2, 2017

References

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