Disease and value: A rejection of the value-neutrality thesis


Abstract
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 holds that disease language is evaluatively neutral. In particular, the essay critically focuses on the value neutral position adopted by Christopher Boorse, which he terms a functional theory of disease. The argument concerns whether or not one can have value neutral description of disease states or whether disease language essentially involves values.
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Naturalism About Health and Disease: Adding Nuance for Progress.Elselijn Kingma - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):590-608.
Current Dilemmas in Defining the Boundaries of Disease.Jenny Doust, Mary Jean Walker & Wendy A. Rogers - 2017 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 42 (4):350-366.
On Illness, Disease, and Priority: A Framework for More Fruitful Debates.Anke Bueter - 2019 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 22 (3):463-474.

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