This article reflects on the assumption underlying the argument of Little et al. that "contested understandings" in the clinic are susceptible to reconciliation within a liberal framework described as "pragmatic pluralism". It is argued that no such reconciliation is possible or desirable because it is of the nature of the clinic that it provides a forum for multiple voices, ethical and cultural perspectives, and conceptual frameworks, and this is the source of its fecundity and creativity. Medicine itself cannot be represented by a single discourse, precisely because it is itself an unruly collection of practices that, despite their heterogeneity, are able to engage in productive dialogues with each other. The heteroglossia of the clinic, therefore, is not a problem to be overcome. Rather, it is a rich resource to be mobilized in accordance with its multiple inherent purposes.
- Philosophy of medicine