Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 19 (2):307-323 (2016)

Abstract
The emerging concept of systems medicine is at the vanguard of the post-genomic movement towards ‘precision medicine’. It is the medical application of systems biology, the biological study of wholes. Of particular interest, P4 systems medicine is currently promised as a revolutionary new biomedical approach that is holistic rather than reductionist. This article analyzes its concept of holism, both with regard to methods and conceptualization of health and disease. Rather than representing a medical holism associated with basic humanistic ideas, we find a technoscientific holism resulting from altered technological and theoretical circumstances in biology. We argue that this holism, which is aimed at disease prevention and health optimization, points towards an expanded form of medicalization, which we call ‘holistic medicalization’: Each person’s whole life process is defined in biomedical, technoscientific terms as quantifiable and controllable and underlain a regime of medical control that is holistic in that it is all-encompassing. It is directed at all levels of functioning, from the molecular to the social, continual throughout life and aimed at managing the whole continuum from cure of disease to optimization of health. We argue that this medicalization is a very concrete materialization of a broader trend in medicine and society, which we call ‘the medicalization of health and life itself’. We explicate this holistic medicalization, discuss potential harms and conclude by calling for preventive measures aimed at avoiding eventual harmful effects of overmedicalization in systems medicine.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s11019-016-9683-8
Options
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: 58,437
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

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Medicalization and Overdiagnosis: Different but Alike.Bjørn Hofmann - 2016 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 19 (2):253-264.
How to Distinguish Medicalization From Over-Medicalization?Emilia Kaczmarek - 2019 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 22 (1):119-128.
How Medical Technologies Shape the Experience of Illness.Bjørn Hofmann & Fredrik Svenaeus - 2018 - Life Sciences, Society and Policy 14 (1):1-11.
Aging Biomarkers and the Measurement of Health and Risk.Sara Green & Line Hillersdal - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (1):1-23.

View all 19 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Plato and Holistic Medicine.William E. Stempsey - 2001 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 4 (2):201-209.
Medicalization and Overdiagnosis: Different but Alike.Bjørn Hofmann - 2016 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 19 (2):253-264.
On Holism and Normality.Lennart Nordenfelt - 2004 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 7 (2):149-152.
Strong Holism, Weak Holism, and Health.Inge-Bert Täljedal - 2004 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 7 (2):143-148.
A Qualified Defence of a Naturalist Theory of Health.Thomas Schramme - 2006 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 10 (1):11-17.
The Goals of Health Work: Quality of Life, Health and Welfare. [REVIEW]Per-Anders Tengland - 2005 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 9 (2):155-167.
The Relation Between Concepts of Quality-of-Life, Health and Happiness.A. W. Musschenga - 1997 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 22 (1):11-28.
Medicalization and Epistemic Injustice.Alistair Wardrope - 2015 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 18 (3):341-352.
Ivan Illich and the Nemesis of Medicine.Robert J. Barnet - 2003 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 6 (3):273-286.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2016-09-07

Total views
15 ( #654,415 of 2,421,040 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #192,306 of 2,421,040 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes