Medical Humanities 38 (1):44-49 (2012)

This paper seeks to find different ways of addressing illness as an experience essential to the understanding of being a human being. As a conceptual point of departure, we suggest the notion of ‘pathic existence’ as developed by the German physician and philosopher Viktor von Weizsäcker (1886–1957). Through an analysis of his conceptualisation of the pathic and of pathic categories, we demonstrate how this auxiliary typology may be of help in unveiling different modes of ill-being, or Kranksein. Furthermore, we show how illness plays a paradigmatic role in this type of existence. We discuss how von Weizsäcker's claim of illness as “a way of being human” indicates how such a view of the illness existence both differs from and touches upon other streams of thought within the philosophy of medicine and medical ethics. Finally, we highlight some of the normative implications emerging from this perspective of relevance in today's medicine
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DOI 10.1136/medhum-2011-010108
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Illness and the Paradigm of Lived Body.S. Kay Toombs - 1988 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 9 (2).
The Anthropological Tradition in the Philosophy of Medicine.Henk Ten Have - 1995 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 16 (1).
On Defining Illness.Christopher McKnight - 1998 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 15 (2):195–198.

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