Harm and the Boundaries of Disease

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 42 (4):467-484 (2017)
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Abstract

What is the relationship between harm and disease? Discussions of the relationship between harm and disease typically suffer from two shortcomings. First, they offer relatively little analysis of the concept of harm itself, focusing instead on examples of clear cases of harm such as death and dismemberment. This makes it difficult to evaluate such accounts in borderline cases, where the putative harms are less severe. Second, they assume that harm-based accounts of disease must be understood normatively rather than naturalistically, in the sense that they are inherently value based. This makes such accounts vulnerable to more general objections of normative accounts of disease. Here we draw on an influential account of harm from the philosophy of law to develop a harm-based account of disease that overcomes both of these shortcomings.

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Patrick McGivern
University of Wollongong

Citations of this work

Conceptual Clarity in Clinical Bioethical Analysis.J. Clint Parker - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (1):1-15.
Introduction: The Boundaries of Disease.Mary Jean Walker & Wendy A. Rogers - 2017 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 42 (4):343-349.
The Ends of Medicine and the Experience of Patients.D. Robert MacDougall - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (2):129-144.

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References found in this work

Health as a Theoretical Concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.
Science in a Democratic Society.Philip Kitcher - 2011 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 101:95-112.
A Rebuttal on Health.Christopher Boorse - 1997 - In James M. Humber & Robert F. Almeder (eds.), What is Disease? Humana Press. pp. 1--134.

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