Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (4):421-438 (2018)

Brent Kious
University of Utah
There has been much debate about whether the concept of disease articulated in Boorse’s biostatistical theory is value-neutral or value-laden. Here, I want to examine whether this debate matters. I suggest that there are two basic respects in which value-ladenness might be important: it could threaten either scientific legitimacy or moral permissibility. I argue that value-ladenness does not threaten the scientific legitimacy of our disease-concept because the concept makes little difference to the formulation and testing of scientific hypotheses. Likewise, even if our disease-concept is value-laden, this does not show it is morally impermissible. To determine its permissibility, we must regard it as a tool to structure social institutions. Seen in that way, whether our disease-concept is morally permissible is a consequentialist matter and depends exquisitely on unanswered empirical questions.
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/jhy012
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References found in this work BETA

Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal.Heather Douglas - 2009 - University of Pittsburgh Press.
Health as a Theoretical Concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.

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Citations of this work BETA

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