Nosology and causal necessity; the relation betweendefining a disease and discovering its necessary cause

The problem of disease definition is related to theproblem of proving that a certain agent is thenecessary cause of a certain disease. Natural kindterms like rheumatoid arthritis and AIDS refer toessences which are discoverable rather thanpredeterminate. No statement about such diseases isa priori necessarily true. Because theories onnecessary causes involve natural kind semantics,Koch''s postulates cannot be used to falsify or verifysuch theories. Instead of proving that agent A is thenecessary cause of disease D, we include A in atheoretical definition of D, take this to representthe real meaning of D, and discard thepretheoretical definition. This is illustrated byKoch''s own attempt to prove he had discovered thenecessary cause of tuberculosis. Methodologicalarguments about disease causation require a clear viewof our use of diagnostic terms. Medical lexicographersshould do more to provide such a view.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 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: 23,201
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

14 ( #314,307 of 1,940,969 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #197,910 of 1,940,969 )

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.