The desire for health and the promises of medicine

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 1 (1):21-30 (1998)
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The varieties of meaning in which we use the terms illness and health requires that we develope a conceptualization allowing us to maintain a unity between the differences. In fact, the experiences of health and illness are complex ones and they need to be understood in their different levels so that the need for help of patients and their desire for health is adequately faced. At its roots, the experience of illness is that of a threat posed to the unreflective credit given to life in good health. This threat has not only a biopsychosocial dimension, but a moral and sybolic one as well, and it is mainly at this level that illness represents a moral challenge. Contemporary culture seems to be at pains in suggesting a shared set of meanings enabling the patient to give an intersubjectively valid sense of illness, since the only kind of answer offered is a technical one. The symbolic dimension of the notions of health and illness call for a deeper cultural enterprise of looking for a credible sense of illness for our times



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Roberto Mordacci
University Vita-Salute San Raffaele

References found in this work

Health as a theoretical concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.
The wounded storyteller: body, illness, and ethics.Arthur W. Frank - 1995 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
The nature of suffering and the goals of medicine.Eric J. Cassell - 1991 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Sein und Zeit.Martin Heidegger - 1981 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 14 (1):57-58.
Naissance de la clinique.Michel Foucault - 2015 - Presses Universitaires de France - PUF.

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