Health of organisms and health of persons: An embedded instrumentalist approach

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 21 (4):339-354 (2000)
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In a time when we as a society are in the process of deciding what our basic rights to health care are, it is critically important for us to have a full and complete understanding of what constitutes health. We argue for an analysis of health according to which certain states are healthy not in themselves but because they allow an individual to reach actual goals. Recognizing that the goals of an individual considered from the point of view of biology and the goals of the same individual considered as an agent in the world might be different, we introduce a distinction between the health of an individual qua organism and the health of an individual qua person. We then argue that this distinction characterizes the evaluations made by patients and healthcare providers better than the widely discussed distinction between disease and illness.



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Citations of this work

A Second Rebuttal On Health.Christopher Boorse - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):683-724.
The rationale of value‐laden medicine.Michael H. Kottow Ma Md - 2002 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 8 (1):77-84.
Bookreview.Christy A. Rentmeester - 2006 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (5):455-462.

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References found in this work

Health as a theoretical concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.
The basic works of Aristotle. Aristotle - 1941 - New York: Modern Library. Edited by Richard McKeon.
On the distinction between disease and illness.Christopher Boorse - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 5 (1):49-68.
Normative naturalism.Larry Laudan - 1990 - Philosophy of Science 57 (1):44-59.
Scientific Rationality as Instrumental Rationality.Ronald N. Giere - 1989 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 20 (3):377.

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