Simplified models of the relationship between health and disease

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 26 (5):355-377 (2005)
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The concepts of health and disease are crucial in defining the aim and the limits of modern medicine. Accordingly it is important to understand them and their relationship. However, there appears to be a discrepancy between scholars in philosophy of medicine and health care professionals with regard to these concepts. 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 philosophy of medicine with regard to developing theories and communicating them to health care professionals.



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