Authors
Thomas Schramme
Universität Hamburg
Abstract
The paper contrasts Lennart Nordenfelt’s normative theory of health with the naturalists’ point of view, especially in the version developed by Christopher Boorse. In the first part it defends Boorse’s analysis of disease against the charge that it falls short of its own standards by not being descriptive. The second part of the paper sets out to analyse the positive concept of health and introduces a distinction between a positive definition of health (‘health’ is not defined as absence of disease but in positive terms) and a positive conception of health (health is seen as an ideal). An objection against Nordenfelt’s account is developed by making use of a specific example of an ambitious athlete. It is stated that Nordenfelt’s conceptualisation includes too many phenomena under the umbrella of ill health. An ideal conception of health like Nordenfelt’s is in danger of supporting medicalization. In conclusion, although Nordenfelt’s theory is not altogether rejected and even seen in congruence with Boorse’s account, it is claimed that the naturalistic framework should obtain conceptual priority
Keywords definitions in medicine  disease  medicalization  naturalism  normativism  positive concept of health
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Reprint years 2007
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DOI 10.1007/s11019-006-9020-8
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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.
A Rebuttal on Health.Christopher Boorse - 1997 - In James M. Humber & Robert F. Almeder (eds.), What is Disease? Humana Press. pp. 1--134.
What a Theory of Mental Health Should Be.Christopher Boorse - 1976 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 6 (1):61–84.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Naturalism About Health and Disease: Adding Nuance for Progress.Elselijn Kingma - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):590-608.
A Dispositional Theory of Health.Sander Werkhoven - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (4):927-952.
How to Distinguish Medicalization From Over-Medicalization?Emilia Kaczmarek - 2019 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 22 (1):119-128.

View all 26 citations / Add more citations

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