Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):565-571 (2014)

Thomas Schramme
Universität Hamburg
In 2012, the symposium "Christopher Boorse and the Philosophy of Medicine" was held at the University of Hamburg. The initial ideas presented at this event, which celebrated Chris's contribution to the development of what is now a vibrant area of research, especially to the theory of disease, form the core of the papers published in this issue. Similarly to what Robert Nozick once said about John Rawls's work, it can be demanded that philosophers of medicine must now either work within Boorse's theory or explain why not. It is simply the main contender in the so-called naturalist camp of contributions to the theory of disease. All of the papers in this issue address his approach in some respect, and all of them are friendly toward his theory up to a point. In this brief introduction, I try to extract common threads. In doing so, I focus on three issues that have the capacity to determine future debates. The first is the methodology of developing a theory of disease, especially what conceptual analysis amounts to and what it may achieve. The second is the issue of value-ladenness of the concepts of health and disease, a topic that has been at the forefront of the philosophical debate, but which -- to my mind -- has often been misunderstood. The third issue is the problem of the unity of medical terminology. We can ask whether there is only one core medical concept, be it "disease," "pathology," "disorder," "malady," or something else. Alternatively, we might propose different concepts for different purposes.
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/jmp/jhu041
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: 52,956
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

A Second Rebuttal On Health.Christopher Boorse - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):683-724.
Naturalism About Health and Disease: Adding Nuance for Progress.Elselijn Kingma - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):590-608.
Reframing the Disease Debate and Defending the Biostatistical Theory.Peter H. Schwartz - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):572-589.
Health and Functional Efficiency.Daniel M. Hausman - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):634-647.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Boorse’s Theory of Disease: Do Values Matter?Brent M. Kious - 2018 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (4):421-438.
The Ends of Medicine and the Experience of Patients.D. Robert MacDougall - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (2):129-144.
A Life Worth Living: Value and Responsibility.Audra L. Goodnight - 2019 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 44 (2):133-149.
Medicine, Morality, and Mortality: The Challenges of Moral Diversity.Mark J. Cherry - 2015 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 40 (5):473-483.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Concepts of Health and Disease.Christopher Boorse - 2011 - In Fred Gifford (ed.), Philosophy of Medicine. Elsevier. pp. 16--13.
A Qualified Defence of a Naturalist Theory of Health.Thomas Schramme - 2006 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 10 (1):11-17.
A Pathological View of Disease.William E. Stempsey - 2000 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 21 (4):321-330.
Health and Functional Efficiency.Daniel M. Hausman - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):634-647.
The Concept of Health: Beyond Normativism and Naturalism.Richard P. Hamilton - 2010 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 16 (2):323-329.
Ducking Trolleys.Christopher Boorse - 1994 - Journal of Social Philosophy 25 (3):146-152.
Ducking Harm.Christopher Boorse & Roy A. Sorensen - 1988 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (3):115-134.
The Origins of the Indeterminacy Thesis.Christopher Boorse - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (13):369-387.
On the Distinction Between Disease and Illness.Christopher Boorse - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 5 (1):49-68.
Strong Holism, Weak Holism, and Health.Inge-Bert Täljedal - 2004 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 7 (2):143-148.


Added to PP index

Total views
38 ( #254,213 of 2,343,712 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #56,264 of 2,343,712 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes