Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 227–243

Emerging Medical Technologies and Emerging Conceptions of Health

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11017-006-9003-z

Cite this article as:
Stempsey, W.E. Theor Med Bioeth (2006) 27: 227. doi:10.1007/s11017-006-9003-z


Using ideas gleaned from the philosophy of technology of Martin Heidegger and Hans Jonas and the philosophy of health of Georges Canguilhem, I argue that one of the characteristics of emerging medical technologies is that these technologies lead to new conceptions of health. When technologies enable the body to respond to more and more challenges of disease, we thus establish new norms of health. Given the continued development of successful technologies, we come to expect more and more that our bodies should be able to respond to ever-new challenges of environment and disease by establishing ever-new norms of health. Technologies may aim at the prevention and treatment of disease, but they also bring about modifications of what we consider normal for the human being. Thus, new norms of health arise from technological innovation.


CanguilhemhealthHeideggerJonasmedical technologytechnology

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyCollege of the Holy CrossWorcesterUSA