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Philosophical debate about disease includes examination of how to define disease and how to distinguish it from health, the relation of physiological disease and mental illness, and theoretical work on nosology, diagnosis, and epidemiology. Philosophy of medicine literature examines these topics in connection to debates about medicalisation, clinical reasoning, and conceptual change associated with social shifts and new technologies. Bio- and public health ethics literature has examined connections to a range of practical and ethical implications of these theoretical matters, as well as ethical issues connected to specific diseases.

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The Concept of Disease
  1. How to Draw the Line Between Health and Disease? Start with Suffering.Bjørn Hofmann - 2021 - Health Care Analysis 29 (2):127-143.
    How can we draw the line between health and disease? This crucial question of demarcation has immense practical implications and has troubled scholars for ages. The question will be addressed in three steps. First, I will present an important contribution by Rogers and Walker who argue forcefully that no line can be drawn between health and disease. However, a closer analysis of their argument reveals that a line-drawing problem for disease-related features does not necessarily imply a line-drawing problem for disease (...)
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  2. Not Merely the Absence of Disease: A Genealogy of the WHO’s Positive Health Definition.Lars Thorup Larsen - forthcoming - History of the Human Sciences:095269512199535.
    The 1948 constitution of the World Health Organization defines health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. It was a bold and revolutionary health idea to gain international consensus in a period characterized by fervent anti-communism. This article explores the genealogy of the health definition and demonstrates how it was possible to expand the scope of health, redefine it as ‘well-being’, and overcome ideological resistance to progressive and international (...)
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  3. On Recovery: Re-Directing the Concept by Differentiation of its Meanings.Yael Friedman - forthcoming - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy.
    Recovery is a commonly used concept in both professional and everyday contexts. Yet despite its extensive use, it has not drawn much philosophical attention. In this paper, I question the common understanding of recovery, show how the concept is inadequate, and introduce new and much needed terminology. I argue that recovery glosses over important distinctions and even misrepresents the process of moving away from malady as "going back" to a former state of health. It does not invite important nuances needed (...)
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  4. On Grounds, Anchors, and Diseases: A Reply to Glackin.Alex James Miller Tate & Thomas Davies - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (2):428-437.
    Shane Glackin's 2019 Philosophical Quarterly article aims to offer a framework for understanding the philosophical debate about the nature of disease and utilise this framework to reply to several standard objections to normativist theories of disease. Specifically, Glackin claims his model avoids three central challenges to normativism, which we term the ‘Flippancy Problem’, ‘Repugnancy Problem’, and the ‘Explanatory Problem’. Although we find Glackin's framework helpful in clarifying the terrain of the debate, we argue these three challenges continue to afflict his (...)
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  5. Philosophy of Psychiatry.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Jonathan Y. Tsou examines and defends positions on central issues in philosophy of psychiatry. The positions defended assume a naturalistic and realist perspective and are framed against skeptical perspectives on biological psychiatry. Issues addressed include the reality of mental disorders; mechanistic and disease explanations of abnormal behavior; definitions of mental disorder; natural and artificial kinds in psychiatry; biological essentialism and the projectability of psychiatric categories; looping effects and the stability of mental disorders; psychiatric classification; and the validity of the DSM's (...)
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  6. Aging Biomarkers and the Measurement of Health and Risk.Sara Green & Line Hillersdal - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (1):1-23.
    Prevention of age-related disorders is increasingly in focus of health policies, and it is hoped that early intervention on processes of deterioration can promote healthier and longer lives. New opportunities to slow down the aging process are emerging with new fields such as personalized nutrition. Data-intensive research has the potential to improve the precision of existing risk factors, e.g., to replace coarse-grained markers such as blood cholesterol with more detailed multivariate biomarkers. In this paper, we follow an attempt to develop (...)
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  7. The concept of disease in the time of COVID-19.Maria Cristina Amoretti & Elisabetta Lalumera - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 41 (5):203-221.
    Philosophers of medicine have formulated different accounts of the concept of disease. Which concept of disease one assumes has implications for what conditions count as diseases and, by extension, who may be regarded as having a disease and for who may be accorded the social privileges and personal responsibilities associated with being sick. In this article, we consider an ideal diagnostic test for coronavirus disease 2019 infection with respect to four groups of people—positive and asymptomatic; positive and symptomatic; negative; and (...)
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  8. Naturalism, Disease, and Levels of Functional Description.Somogy Varga & David Miguel Gray - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy and Medicine.
    The paper engages Christopher Boorse’s (1975, 1976, 1977, 1987, 1997, 2014) Bio-Statistical Theory (BST). In its current form, BST runs into a significant challenge. For BST to account for its central tenet—that lower-level part-dysfunction is sufficient for higher-level pathology—it must provide criteria for how to decide which lower-level parts are the ones to be analyzed for health or pathology. As BST is a naturalistic theory, such choices must be based solely on naturalistic considerations. An argument will be provided to show (...)
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  9. Experimental Philosophy of Medicine and the Concepts of Health and Disease.Walter Veit - unknown
    If one had to identify the biggest change within the philosophical tradition in the 21st century, it would certainly be the rapid rise of experimental philosophy to address differences in intuitions about concepts. Yet, it is within the philosophy of medicine that one particular conceptual debate has overshadowed all others: the long-standing dispute between so-called ‘naturalists’ and ‘normativists’ about the concepts of health and disease. It is, therefore, surprising that the philosophy of medicine has, so far, not drawn on the (...)
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  10. From Blocked Flows to Suppressed Emotions: The Life of a Trope.Stewart Justman - forthcoming - Medical Humanities:medhum-2020-011878.
    Internal blockages and build-ups cause disease: traditionally, this principle seemed intuitive both to professionals and the laity, explained conditions as diverse as melancholy and scurvy, and justified the use of evacuative treatments to get rid of noxious matter. With the collapse of humoral medicine and the establishment of the concept of specific causation, one might have expected time-honoured tropes of obstruction to die off. They did not die off, but moved with the times and adapted to new conditions. Emphasis swung (...)
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  11. Shrinking Responsibility.Dallas Ducar - 2015 - Voices in Bioethics 1.
    What does it mean to be mentally ill? We generally define mental illness as a condition which affects one’s psyche so intensely that it impairs function. Specifically, many claim that a mental state becomes disorderly when it becomes maladaptive to one’s environment. The late Oliver Sacks wrote about an island wherein the majority of the people are color-blind. On this island, the activities and norms reflect the needs of the majority. In this case, the people of this island are most (...)
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  12. Galen on the Definition of Disease.Luis Alejandro Salas - 2020 - American Journal of Philology 141 (4):603-634.
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  13. Conceptualising Illness and Disease: Reflections on Sharpe and Greco.Carolyn Wilshire & Tony Ward - 2020 - Medical Humanities 46 (4):532-536.
    In a recent paper, Sharpe and Greco suggest that chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis can be viewed as an instance of “illness without disease”, and consequently, treatment should be directed towards altering the patient’s experience of, and response to, their symptoms. We discuss two broad issues that arise from Sharpe and Greco’s article, one relating to the assumptions they make about MECFS and its treatment specifically, and the other relating to their conceptualisation of the illness/disease dichotomy. We argue that the term (...)
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  14. An Analytic Framework for Conceptualisations of Disease: Nine Structuring Questions and How Some Conceptualisations of Alzheimer’s Disease Can Lead to ‘Diseasisation’.Kristin Zeiler - 2020 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (4):677-693.
    According to the US National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease should be understood as a biological construct. It can be diagnosed based on AD-characteristic biomarkers only, even if AD biomarkers can be present many years before a person experiences any symptoms of AD. The NIA-AA’s conceptualisation of AD radically challenges past AD conceptualisations. This article offers ananalytic framework for the clarification and analysis of meanings and effects of conceptualisations of diseases such as that of AD. This (...)
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  15. The Illness-Disease Dichotomy and the Biological-Clinical Splitting of Medicine.Luigi Tesio & Marco Buzzoni - forthcoming - Medical Humanities:medhum-2020-011873.
    In a recent paper, Sharpe and Greco argue that some clinical conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, should be treated by altering the patient's experience and response to symptoms without necessarily searching for an underlying cause. As a result, we should allow for the existence of ‘illnesses without diseases’. Wilshire and Ward reply that this possibility requires unwarranted causal assumptions about the psychosocial origins of conditions not predicted by a disease model. In so doing, it is argued that Sharpe and (...)
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  16. A naturalist response to Kingma’s critique of naturalist accounts of disease.David B. Hershenov - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 41 (2):83-97.
    Elselijn Kingma maintains that Christopher Boorse and other naturalists in the philosophy of medicine cannot deliver the value-free account of disease that they promise. Even if disease is understood as dysfunction and that notion can be applied in a value-free manner, values still manifest themselves in the justification for picking one particular operationalization of dysfunction over a number of competing alternatives. Disease determinations depend upon comparisons within a reference class vis-à-vis reaching organism goals. Boorse considers reference classes for a species (...)
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  17. Do Feeding and Eating Disorders Fit the General Definition of Mental Disorder?M. Cristina Amoretti - forthcoming - Topoi.
  18. Diseases Are Not Adaptations and Neither Are Their Causes: A Response to Ardern’s "Dysfunction, Disease, and the Limits of Selection".Paul E. Griffiths & John Matthewson - 2020 - Biological Theory 15 (3):136-142.
    In a recent article in this journal, Zachary Ardern criticizes our view that the most promising candidate for a naturalized criterion of disease is the "selected effects" account of biological function and dysfunction. Here we reply to Ardern’s criticisms and, more generally, clarify the relationship between adaptation and dysfunction in the evolution of health and disease.
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  19. The Concept of Disorder Revisited: Robustly VAlue-Laden Despite Change.I.—Rachel Cooper - 2020 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 94 (1):141-161.
    Our concept of disorder is changing. This causes problems for projects of descriptive conceptual analysis. Conceptual change means that a criterion that was necessary for a condition to be a disorder at one time may cease to be necessary a relatively short time later. Nevertheless, some conceptually based claims will be fairly robust. In particular, the claim that no adequate account of disorder can appeal only to biological facts can be maintained for the foreseeable future. This is because our current (...)
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  20. Doctors Without ‘Disorders’.Lisa Bortolotti - 2020 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 94 (1):163-184.
    On one influential view, the problems that should attract medical attention involve a disorder, because the goals of medical practice are to prevent and treat disorders. Based on this view, if there are no mental disorders then the status of psychiatry as a medical field is challenged. In this paper, I observe that it is often difficult to establish whether the problems that attract medical attention involve a disorder, and argue that none of the notions of disorder proposed so far (...)
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  21. Disease Entities, Negative Causes, Multifactoriality, and the Naturalness of Disease Classifications. Remarks on Some Philosophical Misperceptions of Medical Pathology.Peter Hucklenbroich - 2018 - In Antonio Piccolomini D’Aragona, Martin Carrier, Roger Deulofeu, Axel Gelfert, Jens Harbecke, Paul Hoyningen-Huene, Lara Huber, Peter Hucklenbroich, Ludger Jansen, Elizaveta Kostrova, Keizo Matsubara, Anne Sophie Meincke, Andrea Reichenberger, Kian Salimkhani & Javier Suárez (eds.), Philosophy of Science: Between the Natural Sciences, the Social Sciences, and the Humanities. Springer Verlag. pp. 137-152.
    In twentieth and twenty-first century medicine, the concept of disease entity has proven to be of key importance for pathology and the theory of diseases. Disease entities are kinds of complex clinical and etiopathogenetic processes that are triggered by specific primary causes and develop on anatomical, physiological, clinical and subjectively experienced levels. They are distinguished from healthy states of life by definite criteria of pathologicity. This paper sketches the prehistory as well as the central features of the current paradigm of (...)
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  22. Theoretical and Clinical Disease and the Biostatistical Theory.Steven Tresker - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 82:101249.
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  23. Realism, Natural Kinds, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.David Spindle - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Oklahoma
    Realism about mental disorders is a perennial area of dispute, but the controversy burns especially intensely for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In this dissertation, I clarify what is at issue in these debates, surveying how realists have typically argued for mental disorder realism: the definitional debate about health and illness. I argue that the realist need not be committed to the terms of the definitional debate and recommend that a better approach is to show that mental disorders are natural kinds. (...)
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  24. Harm as a Necessary Component of the Concept of Medical Disorder: Reply to Muckler and Taylor.Jerome C. Wakefield & Jordan A. Conrad - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (3):350-370.
    Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction analysis asserts that the concept of medical disorder includes a naturalistic component of dysfunction and a value component, both of which are required for disorder attributions. Muckler and Taylor, defending a purely naturalist, value-free understanding of disorder, argue that harm is not necessary for disorder. They provide three examples of dysfunctions that, they claim, are considered disorders but are entirely harmless: mild mononucleosis, cowpox that prevents smallpox, and minor perceptual deficits. They also reject the proposal that dysfunctions (...)
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  25. The Irrelevance of Harm for a Theory of Disease.Dane Muckler & James Stacey Taylor - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (3):332-349.
    Normativism holds that there is a close conceptual link between disease and disvalue. We challenge normativism by advancing an argument against a popular normativist theory, Jerome Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction account. Wakefield maintains that medical disorders are breakdowns in evolved mechanisms that cause significant harm to the organism. We argue that Wakefield’s account is not a promising way to distinguish between disease and health because being harmful is neither necessary nor sufficient for a dysfunction to be a disorder. Counterexamples to the (...)
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  26. Disease and Value: A Rejection of the Value-Neutrality Thesis.George J. Agich - 1982 - Theoretical Medicine: An International Journal for the Philosophy and Methodology of Medical Research and Practice 4:27-41.
    RECENT PHILOSOPHICAL ATTENTION TO THE LANGUAGE OF DISEASE HAS FOCUSED PRIMARILY ON THE QUESTION OF ITS VALUE-NEUTRALITY OR NON-NEUTRALITY. PROPONENTS OF THE VALUE-NEUTRALITY THESIS SYMBOLICALLY COMBINE POLITICAL AND OTHER CRITICISMS OF MEDICINE IN AN ATTACK ON WHAT THEY SEE AS VALUE-INFECTED USES OF DISEASE LANGUAGE. THE PRESENT ESSAY ARGUES AGAINST TWO THESES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS VIEW: A METHODOLOGICAL THESIS WHICH TENDS TO DIVORCE THE ANALYSIS OF DISEASE LANGUAGE FROM THE CONTEXT OF THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE AND A SUBSTANTIVE THESIS WHICH (...)
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  27. The Perils of Powell: In Search of a Factual Foundation for the Disease Concept of Alcoholism.Herbert Fingarette - 1970 - Harvard Law Review 83:793-812.
    THIS ARTICLE IS AN ANALYSIS OF THE CURRENT LEGAL REASONING AND LAW AS TO THE CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY OF ALCOHOLICS, AND AN ANALYSIS OF THE MEDICAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND. THE LEGAL ARGUMENTS TO ABSOLVE THE ALCOHOLIC OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR CRIMINAL ACTS WHILE DRUNK ARE SHOWN TO REST ON UNSATISFACTORY ARGUMENT AND FUNDAMENTALLY FALSE FACTUAL ASSUMPTIONS.
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  28. On the Relevance and Importance of the Notion of Disease.Lennart Nordenfelt - 1993 - Theoretical Medicine: An International Journal for the Philosophy and Methodology of Medical Research and Practice 14 (1):15-26.
    This paper constitutes a defence of the basic philosophical enterprise of characterising concepts such as 'disease' and 'health', as well as other medical concepts. I argue that these concepts play important roles, not only in medical, but also in other scientific and social contexts. In particular, medical decisions about health and diseasehood have important ethical, social and economic consequences. The role played is, however, not always a rational one. But the greater is the need for a reconstruction of this network (...)
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  29. Why Bioethics Needs the Philosophy of Medicine: Some Implications of Reflection on Concepts of Health and Disease.George Khushf - 1997 - Theoretical Medicine: An International Journal for the Philosophy and Methodology of Medical Research and Practice 18 (1-2):145-163.
    Germund Hesslow has argued that concepts of health and disease serve no important scientific, clinical, or ethical function. However, this conclusion depends upon the particular concept of disease he espouses; namely, on Boorse's functional notion. The fact/value split embodied in the functional notion of disease leads to a sharp split between the "science" of medicine and bioethics, making the philosophy of medicine irrelevant for both. By placing this disease concept in the broader context of medical history. I shall show self-contradictory (...)
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  30. Concepts of Health and Disease: Comments on Chapter 5 of Engelhardt's The Foundations of Bioethics, 2nd Edition.James G. Lennox - 1997 - Reason Papers: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Normative Studies 22:75-84.
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  31. Nosology and Causal Necessity; The Relation Between Defining a Disease and Discovering Its Necessary Cause.Pieter F. De Vries Robbé & Frank J. Flier - 1999 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics: Philosophy of Medical Research and Practice 20 (6):577-588.
    The problem of disease definition is related to the problem of proving that a certain agent is the necessary cause of a certain disease. Natural kind terms like 'rheumatoid arthritis' and 'AIDS' refer to essences which are discoverable rather then predeterminate. No statement about such diseases is a priori necessarily true.
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  32. Principles Behind Definitions of Diseases--A Criticism of the Principle of Disease Mechanism and the Development of a Pragmatic Alternative.Morten Severinsen - 2001 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics: Philosophy of Medical Research and Practice 22 (4):319-336.
    Many philosophers and medical scientists assume that disease categories or entities used to classify concrete cases of disease are often defined by disease mechanisms or causal processes. Others suggest that diseases should always be defined in this manner. This paper discusses these standpoints critically and concludes that they are untenable, not only when 'disease mechanism' refers to an objective mechanism, but also when 'mechanism' refers to a pragmatically demarcated part of the total "objective" causal structure of diseases. As an alternative (...)
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  33. Molecular Medicine and Concepts of Disease: The Ethical Value of a Conceptual Analysis of Emerging Biomedical Technologies.Marianne Boenink - 2010 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy: A European Journal 13 (1):11-23.
    Although it is now generally acknowledged that new biomedical technologies often produce new definitions and sometimes even new concepts of disease, this observation is rarely used in research that anticipates potential ethical issues in emerging technologies. This article argues that it is useful to start with an analysis of implied concepts of disease when anticipating ethical issues of biomedical technologies. It shows, moreover, that it is possible to do so at an early stage, i.e., when a technology is only just (...)
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  34. Why Mental Disorders Are Just Mental Dysfunctions (and Nothing More): Some Darwinian Arguments.Andreas De Block - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 39 (3):338-346.
    Mental disorders are often thought to be harmful dysfunctions. Jerome Wakefield has argued that such dysfunctions should be understood as failures of naturally selected functions. This suggests that evolutionary biology and other Darwinian disciplines hold important information for anyone working on answering the philosophical question, "What is a mental disorder?". In this article, the author argues that Darwinian theory is not only relevant to the understanding of the disrupted functions, but it also sheds light on the disruption itself, as well (...)
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  35. Calculable People? Standardising Assessment Guidelines for Alzheimer's Disease in 1980s Britain.Duncan Wilson - 2017 - Medical History: An International Journal for the History of Medicine and Related Sciences 61 (4):500-524.
    This article shows how funding research on Alzheimer's disease became a priority for the British Medical Research Council in the late 1970s and 1980s, thanks to work that isolated new pathological and biochemical markers, and showed that the disease affected a significant proportion of the elderly population. In contrast to histories that focus on the emergence of new and competing theories of disease causation in this period, I argue that concerns over the use of different assessment methods ensured the MRC's (...)
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  36. Review Of: Concepts of Health and Disease: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. [REVIEW]J. G. Scadding - 1982 - Journal of Medical Ethics: The Journal of the Institute of Medical Ethics 8:157.
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  37. Review Of: Concepts of Health and Disease: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. [REVIEW]Cheshire Calhoun - 1983 - Theoretical Medicine: An International Journal for the Philosophy and Methodology of Medical Research and Practice 4:329-332.
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  38. On the Difficulty of Defining Disease: A Darwinian Perspective.Randolph M. Nesse - 2001 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy: A European Journal 4 (1):37-46.
    An evolutionary view of the origins of the body and its vulnerabilities that result in disease provides an objective foundation for recognizing pathology. Our social definition of disease will remain contentious, however, because values vary, and because the label "disease" changes judgments about the moral status of people with various conditions, and their rights to medical and social resources.
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  39. Simplified Models of the Relationship Between Health and Disease.Bjørn Hofmann - 2005 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics: Philosophy of Medical Research and Practice 26 (5):355-377.
    This article investigates health care professionals' concepts of health and disease and the relationship between them. In order to do so, four different models are described and analyzed: the ideal model, the holistic model, the medical model and the disjunctive model. The analysis reveals that each model has its pros and cons, and that health care professionals appear to apply more than one models. Furthermore, the models and the way health care professionals' use them may be helpful for scholars in (...)
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  40. Review Of: Health, Disease, and Illness: Concept of Medicine. [REVIEW]Lennart Nordenfelt - 2005 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy: A European Journal 8 (1):125-126.
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  41. Patologizzare la Normalità: L'Incapacità Della Psichiatria di Individuare I Falsi Positivi Nelle Diagnosi Dei Disturbi Mentali.Jerome C. Wakefield - 2010 - Psicoterapia E Scienze Umane 44 (3):295-314.
    In psychiatry's transformation from an asylum-based to a community-oriented profession, false positive diagnoses became a major challenge to the validity of the diagnostic system. The shift to descriptive, symptom-based operationalized diagnostic criteria of DSM-III further exacerbated this difficulty because of the contextually based nature of the distinction between normal distress and mental disorder. Through selected examples, the degree of success with which DSM-III and DSM-IV have attended to the challenge of avoiding false positive diagnoses is examined. Conceptual analysis of selected (...)
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  42. The Brain Disease Concept in Addiction: A Cause for Ambivalence, Not Concern.Kylie Morphett & Carla Meurk - 2013 - American Journal of Bioethics: Neuroscience 4 (3):48-50.
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  43. Disease as a Theoretical Concept: The Case of HPV-It Is.Alex Broadbent - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 48:250-257.
    If there is any value in the idea that disease is something other than the mere absence of health then that value must lie in the way that diseases are classified. This paper offers further development of a view advanced previously, the 'contrastive model' of disease: it develops the account to handle asymptomatic disease ; and in doing so it relates the model to a broadly biostatistical view of health. The developments are prompted by considering cancers featuring viruses as prominent (...)
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  44. Towards a socially constructed and objective concept of mental disorder.Anne-Marie Gagné-Julien - forthcoming - Synthese:1-26.
    In this paper, I argue for a new way to understand the integration of facts and values in the concept of mental disorder that has the potential to avoid the flaws of previous hybrid approaches. I import conceptual tools from the account of procedural objectivity defended by Helen Longino to resolve the controversy over the definition of mental disorder. My argument is threefold: I first sketch the history of the debate opposing objectivists and constructivists and focus on the criticisms that (...)
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  45. Mental Disorder as Both Natural and Normative: Developing the Normative Dimension of the 3e Conceptual Framework for Psychopathology.Kristopher Nielsen & Tony Ward - 2020 - Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 40 (2):107-123.
  46. Escaping the Conceptual Analysis Straightjacket: Pathological Mechanisms and Canguilhem’s Biological Philosophy.Jonathan Sholl - 2015 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 58 (4):395-418.
    This essay discusses four key criticisms recently leveled against the main attempts to use conceptual analysis to understand health and disease. First, it examines the weaknesses of these attempts and suggests a better way to proceed. Next, it briefly discusses another disease debate concerning pathological mechanisms and suggests that this approach could be more fruitful than that of conceptual analysis. The final section demonstrates how Georges Canguilhem's biological philosophy of disease avoids some of the problems associated with conceptual analysis, and (...)
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  47. System and Disease: On the Fundamental Problem of Theoretical Pathology.Peter Hucklenbroich - 1984 - Theoretical Medicine: An International Journal for the Philosophy and Methodology of Medical Research and Practice 5:307-324.
    THE ARTICLE GIVES A SKETCH OF A SYSTEMS VIEW IN THEORETICAL PATHOLOGY, I.E., THE MEDICAL THEORY OF ORGANISMS AND THEIR HEALTH DISEASES. THREE MAIN LEVELS OF SYSTEMS ARE DISTINGUISHED WHICH ARE OF RELEVANCE: OBJECTIVE SYSTEMS, SUBJECTIVE SYSTEMS, AND REFLEXIVE SYSTEMS. THIS DISTINCTION IS ILLUSTRATED BY THE POSSIBILITIES OF COMPUTER SYSTEMS. CONSEQUENCES FOR THE CONCEPTIONS OF DISEASE, ETIOLOGY, PATHOGENESIS, AND THEIR CRITERIA ARE DISCUSSED.
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  48. Defining 'Disease': Classification Must Be Distinguished From Evaluation.P. D. Toon - 1981 - Journal of Medical Ethics: The Journal of the Institute of Medical Ethics 7:197-201.
    THE USE OF THE TERM "DISEASE" IS DISCUSSED. SOME DIFFICULTIES WITH A DEFINITION PROPOSED BY CAMPBELL, SCADDING AND ROBERTS ARE CONSIDERED AND REVISED DEFINITIONS SUGGESTED. A DISTINCTION IS DRAWN BETWEEN DISEASEDNESS, CONTRASTED WITH HEALTH AND WITH OTHER SORTS OF PROBLEMS AND NOSOLOGICAL CATEGORIES USED TO DISTINGUISH CONDITIONS WITH DIFFERENT TREATMENTS AND PROGNOSES; AND ASPECTS OF MEDICAL DECISIONS CALLING FOR ETHICAL AND POLITICAL JUDGMENTS.
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  49. Praxis Makes Perfect: Illness as a Bridge Between Biological Concepts of Disease and Social Conceptions of Health.K. W. M. Fulford - 1993 - Theoretical Medicine: An International Journal for the Philosophy and Methodology of Medical Research and Practice 14 (4):305-320.
    Analyses of biological concepts of disease and social conceptions of health indicate that they are structurally interdependent. This in turn suggests the need for a bridge theory of illness. The main features of such a theory are an emphasis on the logical properties of value terms, close attention to the features of the experience of illness, and an analysis of this experience as "action failure", drawing directly on the internal structure of action. The practical applications of this theory are outlined (...)
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  50. Medical Informatics and the Concept of Disease.Kenneth F. Schaffner - 2000 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics: Philosophy of Medical Research and Practice 21 (1):85-101.
    This paper attempts to address the general question whether information technologies, as applied in the area of medicine and health care, have or are likely to change fundamental concepts regarding disease and health. After a short excursion into the domain of medical informatics I provide a brief overview of some of the current theories of what a disease is from a more philosophical perspective, i.e., the "value free" and "value laden" view of disease. Next, I consider at some length, whether (...)
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