Health Care Analysis 21 (4):283-297 (2013)

In his influential theory of health Nordenfelt bases the concepts of health and illness on the notions of ability and disability. A premise for this is that ability and disability provide a more promising, adequate, and useful basis than well-being and suffering. Nordenfelt uses coma and manic episodes as paradigm cases to show that this is so. Do these paradigm cases (and thus the premise) hold? What consequences does it have for the theory of health and illness if it they do not? These are the key questions in this article, which first presents the relationship between pain and disability in Nordenfelt’s theory and the paradigm cases he uses to argue for the primacy of disability over pain. Then, Nordenfelt’s concepts of illness are outlined, highlighting its presumptions and arguments. The main point is that if you do not have an action-theoretical perspective, it is not obvious that disability is the core concept for illness. The compelling effect of the paradigm cases presupposes that you see ability as the primary issue. To those who do not share this presumption, people in coma may not be ill. There are alternative well founded arguments for the primacy of first person experiences for the concept of illness. Hence, we need better arguments for the primacy of disability over first person experiences in illness, or first-person experience should be more primarily included in the concept of illness.
Keywords Illness   Action-theory   Sensation   Pain   Suffering   First person experience
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DOI 10.1007/s10728-013-0255-2
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References found in this work BETA

On the Distinction Between Disease and Illness.Christopher Boorse - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 5 (1):49-68.

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Citations of this work BETA

Psychopathy: Morally Incapacitated Persons.Heidi Maibom - 2017 - In Thomas Schramme & Steven Edwards (eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Medicine. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 1109-1129.

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