“Diseases and natural kinds”

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 26 (6):487-513 (2005)
Abstract
David Thomasma called for the development of a medical ethics based squarely on the philosophy of medicine. He recognized, however, that widespread anti-essentialism presented a significant barrier to such an approach. The aim of this article is to introduce a theory that challenges these anti-essentialist objections. The notion of natural kinds presents a modest form of essentialism that can serve as the basis for a foundationalist philosophy of medicine. The notion of a natural kind is neither static nor reductionistic. Disease can be understood as making necessary reference to living natural kinds without invoking the claim that diseases themselves are natural kinds. The idea that natural kinds have a natural disposition to flourish as the kinds of things that they are provides a telos to which to tether the notion of disease – an objective telos that is broader than mere survival and narrower than subjective choice. It is argued that while nosology is descriptive and may have therapeutic implications, disease classification is fundamentally explanatory. Sickness and illness, while referring to the same state of affairs, can be distinguished from disease phenomenologically. Scientific and diagnostic fallibility in making judgments about diseases do not diminish the objectivity of this notion of disease. Diseases are things, not kinds. Injury is a concept parallel to disease that also makes necessary reference to living natural kinds. These ideas provide a new possibility for the development of a philosophy of medicine with implications for medical ethics.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 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: 11,365
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.

Citations of this work BETA
Stefan Dragulinescu (2010). Diseases as Natural Kinds. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (5):347-369.
Jeremy R. Simon (2010). Advertisement for the Ontology for Medicine. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (5):333-346.
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

31 ( #57,204 of 1,102,738 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #61,837 of 1,102,738 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


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