On disability and illness. A reply to Edwards

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 20 (2):181-189 (1999)
This paper is a reply to an article by Steven Edwards in a previous issue of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics. In this paper Edwards discusses two types of problems which he finds to be inherent in my theory of disability, mainly as presented in my On the Nature of Health, Kluwer 1995. First, Edwards discerns a tension in my basic definition of health, a tension between my “subjectivistic” and my “objectivistic” aspirations in the definition. Second, he finds that my theory of disability does not allow for a distinction between disability due to illness or injury and disability which has no such (at least not immediate) background. In my answer to Edwards's arguments I claim that his first criticism must be due to a misunderstanding of my intentions. I find his second criticism to be more to the point. It raises important issues in the theory of health which partly concern our interpretation of the notion of illness. Edwards introduces the notion of capacity in order to separate between disability due to illness or injury and disability without such a background. In the last part of my paper I argue that this distinction, however, will not fulfil its purpose.
Keywords definition of health  disability  illness  disease  injury  Edwards
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DOI 10.1023/A:1009953617415
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