David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 14 (3) (1993)
Since the microbiological revolution, most infectious diseases have been defined and classified according to an etiologic criterion, i.e. the identification of single, external necessary causes (for example, Mycobacterium for tuberculosis). This is not the case with cancer. Not only external necessary causes of cancer have not been identified, but also the morphological classification cannot be based on univocal criteria. Although neoplasia and anaplasia appear to be universal attributes of cancer, these events are only quantitative. Neoplastic growth can be fast or slow (development may take weeks or years), and tissue pathologies are difficult to detect from normal tissue in some cancers but are obvious in others. Common special properties of anaplasia appear to be concealed in the wide range of morphologies. In the absence of a coherent morphological definition, and of external necessary causes (such as bacteria for infectious diseases), a mechanistic definition could be adopted. However, unless molecular biology discovers specific mechanistic steps in carcinogenesis, which indicate the existence of necessary events in carcinogenesis, we cannot adopt a univocal (monothetic) definition of cancer. The alternative is to use a polythetic definition, according to Wittgenstein's model of a long rope twisted together out of many shorter fibres.
|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
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
S. Booth (1997). Cancer Wars -- How Politics Shapes What We Know and Don't Know About Cancer. Journal of Medical Ethics 23 (4):255-256.
Rebecca Dresser (2011). Bioethics and Cancer: When the Professional Becomes Personal. Hastings Center Report 41 (6):14-18.
Knut Borch-Johnsen, Jørgen H. Olsen & Thorkild I. A. Sørensen (1994). Genes and Family Environment in Familial Clustering of Cancer. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 15 (4).
Kayhan Parsi, Dhrubajyoti Bhattacharya & Justin List (2011). The Dread Disease: Cancer in the Developing World. Hastings Center Report 41 (3):13-14.
Susan Gilbert (2010). Personalized Cancer Care in an Age of Anxiety. Hastings Center Report 40 (5):18-21.
Stewart Justman (2012). Uninformed Consent: Mass Screening for Prostate Cancer. Bioethics 26 (3):143-148.
Christophe Malaterre (2007). Organicism and Reductionism in Cancer Research: Towards a Systemic Approach. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (1):57 – 73.
James A. Marcum (2005). Metaphysical Presuppositions and Scientific Practices: Reductionism and Organicism in Cancer Research. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (1):31 – 45.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads9 ( #157,093 of 1,101,079 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #290,337 of 1,101,079 )
How can I increase my downloads?