Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 21 (4):339-354 (2000)

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.
Keywords C. Boorse  disease  health  instrumentalism  philosophy of medicine
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1009994806758
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 72,607
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Health as a Theoretical Concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.
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.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

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.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
56 ( #206,597 of 2,533,656 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #260,225 of 2,533,656 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes