Off-Campus Access

Moral Judgment in Evaluating Disease: Some Pictures for Discussion

21 April 2017 - 11:29am by Andy Hickner

An image from the Moral Judgment exhibition

Curated by David K. Dupee and Melinda Wang, M.D. Candidates, Class of 2020, Yale School of Medicine, this new exhibit in the hallway, is a collaboration of the Program for Humanities in Medicine and the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library.

By virtue of its ubiquity, we all practice moral judgment at some degree long before developing an aptitude for clinical evaluation. Ideas of how a "good" person should look and act, reside within us and subtly impact the way that we perceive those around us. This practice is so deeply ingrained that it can carry over into the clinic, leading well-meaning practitioners to perceive patients both clinically and morally. 

We have organized a collection of prints that encourage the viewer to confront the cultural constructs that underlie moral evaluation. In presenting prints from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, we aim to impress upon viewers that the association between health and morality is deeply ingrained within the very fabric of society, and indeed, stretches far beyond the period that our exhibit encompasses. We have prepared a hypothetical patient vignette for each print to further conversation about morality and the practice of clinical medicine. It is our hope that viewers will see the chosen depictions of mental health, illness, and body image not as distant echoes of the past, but rather as preludes to forces that remain substantial in the modern era.

The exhibition is on view April 28 through September 5, 2017.