Paracetamol, poison, and polio: Why Boorse's account of function fails to distinguish health and disease

Christopher Boorse's Bio Statistical Theory (BST) defines health as the absence of disease, and disease as the adverse departure from normal species functioning. This paper presents a two-pronged problem for this account. First I demonstrate that, in order to accurately account for dynamic physiological functions, Boorse's account of normal function needs to be modified to index functions against situations. I then demonstrate that if functions are indexed against situations, the BST can no longer account for diseases that result from specific environmental factors. The BST is impaled on either horn of this dilemma and therefore must be dismissed
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axp034
 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
Thomas S. Szasz (2004). The Myth of Mental Illness. In Arthur Caplan, James J. McCartney & Dominic A. Sisti (eds.), Ethics. Georgetown University Press 43--50.
R. Amundson (2000). Against Normal Function. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 31 (1):33-53.
Christopher Boorse (1976). Wright on Functions. Philosophical Review 85 (1):70-86.
R. Cooper (2002). Disease. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 33 (2):263-282.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Christopher Boorse (2014). A Second Rebuttal On Health. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):683-724.
S. Andrew Schroeder (2013). Rethinking Health: Healthy or Healthier Than? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):131-159.
D. M. Hausman (2011). Is an Overdose of Paracetamol Bad for One's Health? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):657-668.
Daniel M. Hausman (2014). Health and Functional Efficiency. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):634-647.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

97 ( #32,845 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.