Defining 'health' and 'disease'


Abstract
How should we define ‘health’ and ‘disease’? There are three main positions in the literature. Naturalists desire value-free definitions based on scientific theories. Normativists believe that our uses of ‘health’ and ‘disease’ reflect value judgments. Hybrid theorists offer definitions containing both normativist and naturalist elements. This paper discusses the problems with these views and offers an alternative approach to the debate over ‘health’ and ‘disease’. Instead of trying to find the correct definitions of ‘health’ and ‘disease’ we should explicitly talk about the considerations that are central in medical discussions, namely state descriptions and normative claims . This distinction avoids the problems facing the major approaches to defining ‘health’ and ‘disease’, and it more clearly captures what matters in medical discussions
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2009.06.005
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References found in this work BETA

Health as a Theoretical Concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.
A Matter of Individuality.David L. Hull - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 45 (3):335-360.
Disease.Rachel Cooper - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 33 (2):263-282.
Evolution, Population Thinking, and Essentialism.Elliott Sober - 1980 - Philosophy of Science 47 (3):350-383.
A Rebuttal on Health.Christopher Boorse - 1997 - In James M. Humber & Robert F. Almeder (eds.), What is Disease? Humana Press. pp. 1--134.

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Citations of this work BETA

Rethinking Health: Healthy or Healthier Than?S. Andrew Schroeder - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):131-159.
Effectiveness of Medical Interventions.Jacob Stegenga - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 54:34-44.
Health, Naturalism, and Functional Efficiency.Daniel M. Hausman - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (4):519-541.
Human Enhancement: Enhancing Health or Harnessing Happiness?Bjørn Hofmann - 2019 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 16 (1):87-98.

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