A dialogical exploration of the Grey zone of health and illness: Medical science, anthropology, and Plato on alcohol consumption

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 30 (2):81-103 (2009)
This paper takes a phenomenological hermeneutic orientation to explicate and explore the notion of the grey zone of health and illness and seeks to develop the concept through an examination of the case of alcohol consumption. The grey zone is an interpretive area referring to the irremediable zone of ambiguity that haunts even the most apparently resolute discourse. This idea points to an ontological indeterminacy, in the face of which decisions have to be made with regard to the health of a person (e.g., an alcoholic), a system (e.g., the health system), or a society. The fundamental character of this notion will be developed in relation to the discourse on health and the limitations of different disciplinary practices. The case of alcohol consumption will be used to tease out the grey zone embedded in the different kinds of knowledge made available through the disciplinary traditions of medical science, with its emphasis on somatic well-being, and anthropology, with its focus on communal well-being. This tension or grey zone embedded in different knowledge outcomes will be shown to have a discursive parallel with the dialogue between the Athenian, the Spartan, and the Cretan in Plato’s Laws. Making use of the dialogical approach as described by Gadamer, the Athenian’s particular resolution of the tension will be explored as a case study to demonstrate the necessarily particular analysis involved in a grey zone resolution.
Keywords Health and well-being  Grey zone  Alcohol consumption  Phenomenological hermeneutics  Medical science  Anthropology  Plato, Gadamer, Blum and McHugh
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11017-009-9098-0
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Alfred Schutz (1982). Collected Papers. Distributor for the U.S. And Canada Kluwer Boston.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

37 ( #89,182 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #118,705 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.