A Dispositional Theory of Health

Abstract

A satisfactory account of the nature of health is important for a wide range of theoretical and practical reasons. No theory offered in the literature thus far has been able to meet all the desiderata for an adequate theory of health. This article introduces a new theory of health, according to which health is best defined in terms of dispositions at the level of the organism as a whole. After outlining the main features of the account and providing formal definitions of ‘health’, ‘healthy’, and ‘healthier than’, I present the main strengths of the proposed account. I argue that the proposed dispositional theory accounts for all paradigm cases of health and pathology, that it circumvents a number of problems faced by rival theories, and that it makes for a naturalistic theory of health with a rigorous metaphysical underpinning. 1Introduction 2The Dispositional Account 3Further Specification of the Dispositional Account 3.1Reference classes 3.2Comparison classes 3.3Which dispositions? 4Advantages of the Dispositional view 5Three Objections and Replies 5.1Objection 1: Counter-examples 5.2Objection 2: Issues with holism 5.3Objection 3: Expediting medicalization 6Final Remarks

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,694

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2018-02-05

Downloads
56 (#206,689)

6 months
3 (#198,777)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Sander Werkhoven
Utrecht University

References found in this work

A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1997 - Cambridge University Press.
From an Ontological Point of View.John Heil - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
The Universe as We Find It.John Heil - 2012 - Oxford University Press.

View all 78 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

Can Aging Research Generate a Theory of Health?Jonathan Sholl - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (2):1-26.
Health and Reference Classes.Sander Werkhoven - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (2):145-158.
Infinity, Technology, Degeneracy: A Note on Werkhoven’s Dispositional Theory of Health.Shane N. Glackin - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz033.
Health as Temporally Extended: Theoretical Foundations and Implications.Ari Schick - 2022 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 44 (3):1-22.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Two-Dimensional Theory of Health.Per-Anders Tengland - 2007 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28 (4):257-284.
Rethinking Health: Healthy or Healthier Than?S. Andrew Schroeder - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):131-159.
Just Health. [REVIEW]T. M. Wilkinson - 2008 - Public Health Ethics 1 (3):268-272.
Norman Daniels. Just Health.T. Wilkinson - 2008 - Public Health Ethics 1 (3):268-272.
A Qualified Defence of a Naturalist Theory of Health.Thomas Schramme - 2006 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 10 (1):11-17.
The Notion of Health and the Morality of Genetic Intervention.Erik Malmqvist - 2005 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 9 (2):181-192.
Just Health: Meeting Health Needs Fairly.Norman Daniels - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
What Should Count as Basic Health Care?David T. Ozar - 1983 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 4 (2).
Boorse and His Critics: Toward a Naturalistic Concept of Health.Mahesh Ananth - 2003 - Dissertation, Bowling Green State University
The Concepts of Health and Illness Revisited.Lennart Nordenfelt - 2006 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 10 (1):5-10.