Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (5):367-385 (2017)

Neil Feit
Fredonia State University
According to Jerome Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction analysis of medical disorder, the inability of some internal part or mechanism to perform its natural function is necessary, but not sufficient, for disorder. HDA also requires that the part dysfunction be harmful to the individual. I consider several problems for HDA’s harm criterion in this article. Other accounts on which harm is necessary for disorder will suffer from all or almost all of these problems. Comparative accounts of harm imply that one is harmed when one is made worse off, that is, worse off than one otherwise would have been. Non-comparative accounts imply that one is harmed when one is put into some kind of condition or state that is, in some way, bad in itself. I argue that whether harm is construed comparatively or non-comparatively, HDA’s harm criterion is problematic. I tentatively conclude that an analysis of medical disorder should not make use of the concept of harm.
Keywords disease  medical disorder  harm  value theory
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DOI 10.1007/s11017-017-9418-8
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
The Elements of Moral Philosophy.James Rachels & Stuart Rachels - 1986 - McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Harm of Medical Disorder as Harm in the Damage Sense.David G. Limbaugh - 2019 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 40 (1):1-19.
Medical disorder, harm, and damage.Neil Feit - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 41 (1):39-52.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

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