Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 3 (2):109-116 (2000)
|Abstract||In recent years, an increasing number of medical books and papers attempting to analyse the concepts of health and disease from the perspective of evolutionary biology have been published (Eaton etal., 1993; Ewald, 1993; Harrison, 1993; Nesse and Williams, 1995; Profet, 1991; Rose, 1991; Temple and Burkitt, 1994). This paper introduces the evolutionary approach to health and disease in an attempt to illuminate the premisses and the framework of Darwinian medicine. My primary aim is to analyse to what extent evolutionary theory provides for a biological definition of the concept of disease. This analysis reveals some important differences between functional explanations in the field of evolutionary biology and functional explanations in the field of medicine. Moreover, I shall argue that the biological functions relevant to the health of an organism cannot be determined on the basis of evolutionary theory. Accordingly, it seems that Darwinian medicine does not provide for the definition of a biological concept of disease. Still,Darwinian medicine may suggest why we are susceptible to certain diseases; it might also prove a suggestive heuristic on the basis of which new hypotheses concerning relevant treatments of various diseases might be advanced|
|Keywords||concept of disease Darwinian medicine evolutionary biology functional explanations|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Pierre-Olivier Méthot (2011). Research Traditions and Evolutionary Explanations in Medicine. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 32 (1):75-90.
Randolph M. Nesse (2001). On the Difficulty of Defining Disease: A Darwinian Perspective. [REVIEW] Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 4 (1):37-46.
Sean A. Valles (2012). Evolutionary Medicine at Twenty: Rethinking Adaptationism and Disease. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 27 (2):241-261.
Kenneth F. Schaffner (1999). Coming Home to Hume: A Sociobiological Foundation for a Concept of 'Health' and Morality. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 24 (4):365 – 375.
Germund Hesslow (1993). Do We Need a Concept of Disease? Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 14 (1).
George Khushf (1997). Why Bioethics Needs the Philosophy of Medicine: Some Implications of Reflection on Concepts of Health and Disease. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 18 (1-2).
Thomas Schramme (2007). The Significance of the Concept of Disease for Justice in Health Care. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28 (2):121-135.
Ingo Brigandt (2003). Homology in Comparative, Molecular, and Evolutionary Developmental Biology: The Radiation of a Concept. Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) 299:9-17.
Sean A. Valles (2010). The Mystery of the Mystery of Common Genetic Diseases. Biology and Philosophy 25 (2):183-201.
Pieter R. Adriaens & Andreas de Block (eds.) (2011). Maladapting Minds: Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Evolutionary Theory. Oxford University Press.
József Kovács (1998). The Concept of Health and Disease. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 1 (1):31-39.
Jozsef Kovács (1989). Concepts of Health and Disease. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 14 (3):261-267.
Juha Räikkä (1996). The Social Concept of Disease. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 17 (4).
Added to index2010-08-31
Total downloads19 ( #71,150 of 722,745 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #60,247 of 722,745 )
How can I increase my downloads?