David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573 (1977)
This paper argues that the medical conception of health as absence of disease is a value-free theoretical notion. Its main elements are biological function and statistical normality, in contrast to various other ideas prominent in the literature on health. Apart from universal environmental injuries, diseases are internal states that depress a functional ability below species-typical levels. Health as freedom from disease is then statistical normality of function, i.e., the ability to perform all typical physiological functions with at least typical efficiency. This conception of health is as value-free as statements of biological function. The view that health is essentially value-laden, held by most writers on the topic, seems to have one of two sources: an assumption that health judgments must be practical judgments about the treatment of patients, or a commitment to "positive" health beyond the absence of disease. I suggest that the assumption is mistaken, the commitment possibly misdescribed
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Daniel M. Hausman (2011). A Lockean Argument for Universal Access to Health Care. Social Philosophy and Policy 28 (2):166-191.
Bennett Foddy (2011). Addicted to Food, Hungry for Drugs. Neuroethics 4 (2):79-89.
Michael Loughlin, George Lewith & Torkel Falkenberg (2013). Science, Practice and Mythology: A Definition and Examination of the Implications of Scientism in Medicine. [REVIEW] Health Care Analysis 21 (2):130-145.
Elselijn Kingma (2007). What is It to Be Healthy? Analysis 67 (294):128–133.
Mark Ereshefsky (2009). Defining 'Health' and 'Disease'. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 40 (3):221-227.
Similar books and articles
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).
William E. Stempsey (2006). Emerging Medical Technologies and Emerging Conceptions of Health. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (3):227-243.
Germund Hesslow (1993). Do We Need a Concept of Disease? Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 14 (1).
James G. Lennox (1995). Health as an Objective Value. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 20 (5):499-511.
József Kovács (1998). The Concept of Health and Disease. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 1 (1):31-39.
Elselijn Kingma (2010). Paracetamol, Poison, and Polio: Why Boorse's Account of Function Fails to Distinguish Health and Disease. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (2):241-264.
Thomas Schramme (2007). The Significance of the Concept of Disease for Justice in Health Care. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28 (2):121-135.
William E. Stempsey (2000). A Pathological View of Disease. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 21 (4):321-330.
Jozsef Kovács (1989). Concepts of Health and Disease. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 14 (3):261-267.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads492 ( #322 of 1,102,972 )
Recent downloads (6 months)76 ( #705 of 1,102,972 )
How can I increase my downloads?