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Summary

In the debate about the concept of disease the term is usually used in a broad sense, to include any non-healthy condition (such as injuries, poisoning, etc.) and interchangeably with ‘pathology’. The debate has focused on two main views, naturalism and normativism, and the issue of whether disease and health can be defined in a way that is value-neutral. Some recent work challenges the assumptions of this debate, such as that disease is a concept structured around necessary and sufficient conditions, and that philosophical analysis should focus on a biomedical notion of disease. Associated with this, other conceptual structures and alternative notions taking pragmatic, epidemiological, or public health perspectives have been put forward.

Key works

The naturalist position is represented by the biostatistical theory, developed by Christopher Boorse in several classic papers (1977; 1975; 1976) and defended against critiques in 1997 and 2014. Normativist views are developed by, for example, Canguilhem & Cohen 2012, Nordenfelt 1987, and Cooper 2002. Some argue that disease involves both descriptive and evaluative aspects, a position referred to as either a hybrid theory or as weak normativism, for example Wakefield 2014 and Ereshefsky 2009. Critiques of the traditional debate and alternative approaches are provided by Schwartz 2007 and Sadegh-Zadeh 2000

Introductions Cooper 2017; Murphy 2015; Boorse 2011
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  1. An Ontological Argument against Mandatory Face-Masks.Michael Kowalik - manuscript
    Face-coverings were widely mandated during the Covid-19 pandemic, on the assumption that they limit the spread of respiratory viruses and are therefore likely to save lives. I examine the following ethical dilemma: if the use of face-masks in social settings can save lives then are we obliged to wear them at all times in those settings? I argue that by en-masking the face in a way that is phenomenally inconsistent with or degraded from what we are innately programmed to detect (...)
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  2. Mental disorders in entangled brains.Awais Aftab - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology.
    In this commentary on Anneli Jefferson’s book “Are Mental Disorders Brain Disorders?,” I offer an overview of her central thesis, and then propose my own modified account of when we are justified in calling mental disorders as “brain disorders.” In doing so, I draw on recent work in neuroscience that understands the relationship between brain and behavior in complex, dynamic, and computational terms. In particular, I disagree with Jefferson’s criterion of sufficiency, that a particular brain process should always realize a (...)
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  3. Brain Disorders, Dysfunctions, and Natural Selection: Commentary on Jefferson.Justin Garson - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology.
    I argue that despite the merits of Jefferson’s account of a brain disorder, which are many, the notion of function she deploys is unsuitable to the overall goals of that account. In particular, Jefferson accepts Cummins’ causal role theory of function and dysfunction. As the causal role view, in its standard elaborations, is wedded to human interests, goals, and values, it cannot serve as a value-neutral anchor for her hybrid “harm-dysfunction” account of disorder. I argue that the selected effects theory, (...)
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  4. Interventionism and Intelligibility: Why Depression is not (Always) a Brain Disease.Quinn Hiroshi Gibson - forthcoming - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy.
    Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a serious condition with a large disease burden. It is often claimed that MDD is a “brain disease.” What would it mean for MDD to be a brain disease? I argue that the best interpretation of this claim is as offering a substantive empirical hypothesis about the causes of the syndrome of depression. This syndrome-causal conception of disease, combined with the idea that MDD is a disease of the brain, commits the brain disease conception of (...)
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  5. Infinity, Technology, Degeneracy: A Note on Werkhoven’s Dispositional Theory of Health.Shane N. Glackin - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz033.
    Werkhoven’s ‘A Dispositional Theory of Health’ is an important and original contribution to debates about the disease concept, which persuasively demonstrates that dispositions must play some role in a full account of what it is to be healthy or ill. Unfortunately, as a theory, it cannot as it stands be correct.I first demonstrate what appears to be a significant, and possibly fatal, flaw; the proliferation of dispositions which Werkhoven’s theory requires makes impossible, at least in the absence of significant further (...)
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  6. The Medical Model of “Obesity” and the Values Behind the Guise of Health.Kayla R. Mehl - forthcoming - Synthese 201 (6):1-28.
    Assumptions about obesity—e.g., its connection to ill health, its causes, etc.—are still prevalent today, and they make up what I call the medical model of fatness. In this paper, I argue that the medical model was established on the basis of insufficient evidence and has nevertheless continued to be relied upon to justify methodological choices that further entrench the assumptions of the medical model. These choices are illegitimate in so far as they conflict with both the epistemic and social aims (...)
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  7. Medicine and Meaning in Life.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Alex Broadbent (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Medicine. Oxford University Press.
    Insofar as value theory is relevant to the philosophy of medicine, two goods have dominated reflection: well-being and morality. This essay casts doubt on whether those values are sufficient to resolve an array of important debates about medical practice, maintaining that the value of what makes a life meaningful should play a much larger role. After first indicating how meaningfulness differs from happiness and rightness, the essay argues that meaningfulness cannot reasonably be ignored when thinking comprehensively about the proper aims (...)
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  8. Own-world and Common World in Schizophrenia: Towards a Theory of Anthropological Proportions.Kasper Møller Nielsen - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-21.
    The conceptual pair of own-world and common world constitutes an archaic pair, originally introduced by Heraclitus. More than two millennia after its introduction, Binswanger picked up this conceptual pair in the attempt to understand existence and mental disorder. Ever since, this conceptual pair has been part of the conceptualization of schizophrenia in phenomenological psychopathology. However, the concepts of ídios kósmos and koinós kósmos have seldomly been elaborated and expanded upon, and certain unclarities rest within the literature. This paper resolves some (...)
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  9. Mild Mania and the Theory of Health: A Response to "Mild Mania and Well-Being".Professor Lennart Nordenfelt - forthcoming - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 1 (3):179-184.
    In this response to "Mild Mania and Well-Being" I propose a different analytic strategy and scrutinize the presented case of mild mania within the framework of a holistic theory of health. I distinguish between the following fundamental questions: (1) is mild mania a disease or illness? (2) does the mild mania of Mr. M. reduce his health significantly? and (3) should Mr. M. be recommended treatment with lithium or not? I answer the first question in the affirmative. I propose some (...)
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  10. Disease: An Ill-Founded Concept at Odds with the Principle of Patient-Centred Medicine.Arandjelovic Ognjen - forthcoming - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.
    Background: Despite the at least decades long record of philosophical recognition and interest, the intricacy of the deceptively familiar appearing concepts of ‘disease’, ‘disorder’, ‘disability’, etc., has only recently begun showing itself with clarity in the popular discourse wherein its newly emerging prominence stems from the liberties and restrictions contingent upon it. Whether a person is deemed to be afflicted by a disease or a disorder governs their ability to access health care, be it free at the point of use (...)
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  11. Disease as a Deontic Construct.Kazem Sadegh-Zadeh - 2nd ed. 2015 - In Handbook of Analytic Philosophy of Medicine. Springer Verlag.
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  12. Narcissism A Focal Point for Examining the Interrelatedness of Psychology and Philosophy.Lydia Amir - 2023 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 30 (2):169-172.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Narcissism A Focal Point for Examining the Interrelatedness of Psychology and PhilosophyLydia Amir, PhD (bio)In a groundbreaking article, Aleksandar Fatic challenges the view that mental health is to be dissociated from morality or ethics. His argument targets cluster B personality disorders, such as Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Disorders, but focuses mainly on narcissistic disorders, whether diagnosed or not. Although these persons are not exempt of moral and legal responsibility, (...)
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  13. Is Autism a Mental Disorder According to the Harmful Dysfunction View?Mladen Bošnjak - 2023 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 23 (67):89-111.
    The supporters of the neurodiversity movement contend that autism is not a mental disorder, but rather a natural human variation. In a recent paper Jerome Wakefi eld, David Wasserman and Jordan Conrad (2020) argued against this view relying on Wakefi eld’s harmful dysfunction theory of mental disorder (the HD theory). Although I argue that the HD theory is problematic, I contend that arguments offered by Wakefi eld et al. (2020) against those of the neurodiversity movement are plausible, except in one (...)
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  14. Mental disorder: An ability-based view.Sanja Dembic - 2023 - Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 4.
    What is it to have a mental disorder? The paper proposes an ability-based view of mental disorder. It argues that such a view is preferable to biological dysfunction views such as Wakefield’s Harmful Dysfunction Analysis and Boorse’s Biostatistical Theory. According to the proposed view, having a mental disorder is basically a matter of having a certain type of inability (or: an ability that is not sufficiently high): the inability to respond adequately to some of one’s available reasons in some of (...)
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  15. Brain dysfunction without function.Harriet Fagerberg - 2023 - Philosophical Psychology 1.
    In an important and timely book, Anneli Jefferson outlines a view according to which a given mental disorder is a brain disorder if it is a (harmful) mental dysfunction realised by a brain dysfunction. Prima facie, Jefferson’s book is a study in the metaphysics of dysfunction: how does mental dysfunction relate to brain dysfunction, and what does this imply for the status of mental disorders and brain disorders? In what follows, I shall argue that Jefferson’s contribution to this debate is (...)
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  16. Medical Disorder Is Not a Black Box Essentialist Concept.Harriet Fagerberg - 2023 - Philosophy of Medicine 4 (1).
    Defining Mental Disorder: Jerome Wakefield and His Critics, edited by Denis Forest and Luc Faucher, is essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of medicine whose work is informed by that of Jerome Wakefield, or the disease debate in general. If you are anything like me, this book will open the door to a new depth of understanding of the harmful dysfunction analysis (HDA) and its methodical underpinnings, and an enriched appreciation of what is at stake in defining medical (...)
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  17. Mental Disorder, Meaning-making, and Religious Engagement.Kate Finley - 2023 - Theologica 7 (1).
    Meaning-making plays a central role in how we deal with experiences of suffering, including those due to mental disorder. And for many, religious beliefs, experiences, and practices (hereafter, religious engagement) play a central role in informing this meaning-making. However, a crucial facet of the relationship between experiences of mental disorder and religious engagement remains underexplored—namely the potentially positive effects of mental disorder on religious engagement (e.g. experiences of bipolar disorder increasing sense of God’s presence). In what follows, I will present (...)
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  18. What Makes a Disorder 'Mental'? A Practical Treatment of Psychiatric Disorder.Joseph Gough - 2023 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 30 (1):15-35.
    Abstract:The titular question, of what makes a disorder 'mental,' has an obvious answer: mental disorders are disorders of the mind. I argue that this is not so, before proposing a positive theory of what makes a disorder 'mental,' that what makes a disorder 'mental' is its relationship to psychiatry. The overall thrust of my argument is that mental disorder is mental in name only—to have a mental disorder is not to have a disorder of the mind. Instead, mental disorder is (...)
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  19. The skill of mental health: Towards a new theory of mental health and disorder.Garson Leder & Tadeusz Zawidzki - 2023 - Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 4.
    This paper presents a naturalist skill-based alternative to traditional function-based naturalist theories of mental health and disorder. According to the novel skill view outlined here, mental health is a skilled action of individuals, rather than a question of the functioning of mental mechanisms. Mental disorder is the failure or breakdown of this skill. This skill view of mental health is motivated by focusing on the process of mental healing. This paper argues that, when we start with a focus on how (...)
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  20. Minding Psychiatric Practice.Paul B. Lieberman - 2023 - Philosophy Psychiatry and Psychology 30 (1):37-39.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Minding Psychiatric PracticePaul B. Lieberman, MD (bio)In recent discussions of what makes or should make something 'a psychiatric disorder' (if anything does; Lange, 2007), attention and contention have mostly involved problems distinguishing disorder from normal life, expectable suffering, neurological disease, criminality, prejudice, error, religious experience and effects of injustice, but the question of what makes or should make something psychiatric is also important and difficult to answer. It's important (...)
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  21. Are All Mental Disorders Affective Disorders?Michelle Maiese - 2023 - Passion: Journal of the European Philosophical Society for the Study of Emotion 1 (1):31-49.
    A growing number of theorists have looked to the enactivist approach in philosophy of mind or the affordance-based approach from ecological psychology to make sense of a wide variety of phenomena; some theorists believe that these theoretical accounts can offer rich insights about the nature of mental disorders, their etiology, and their characteristic symptoms. I argue that theorists who adopt such approaches also should embrace the further claim that all mental disorders are affective disorders. First, enactivist accounts of mental disorder (...)
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  22. What Is Psychiatry About?Dominic Murphy - 2023 - Philosophy Psychiatry and Psychology 30 (1):41-43.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:What Is Psychiatry About?Dominic Murphy, PhD (bio)There are no such things as minds, but there are animate objects who behave differently from other types of natural entity. They move around under their own power, and some of their activity seems to be very different from that of other natural objects. Furthermore, some of our predictions about these objects are disproved in interesting ways; if we make a false prediction (...)
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  23. Does Schizophrenia Exist?Georg Repnikov - 2023 - Philosophy of Medicine 4 (1).
    This paper develops and defends a deflationary analysis of existence claims involving psychiatric disorders. According to this analysis, a given psychiatric disorder exists if, and only if, there are people who have the disorder. The implications of this analysis are spelled out for our views of nosological decision making, and for the relationship between claims about the existence of psychiatric disorders and claims about their reality. A pragmatic view of psychiatric nosology is defended and it is argued that worries about (...)
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  24. The biopsychosocial model: Its use and abuse.Alex Roberts - 2023 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 26 (3):367-384.
    The biopsychosocial model (BPSM) is increasingly influential in medical research and practice. Several philosophers and scholars of health have criticized the BPSM for lacking meaningful scientific content. This article extends those critiques by showing how the BPSM’s epistemic weaknesses have led to certain problems in medical discourse. Despite its lack of content, many researchers have mistaken the BPSM for a scientific model with explanatory power. This misapprehension has placed researchers in an implicit bind. There is an expectation that applications of (...)
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  25. Preclinical Disease or Risk Factor? Alzheimer’s Disease as a Case Study of Changing Conceptualizations of Disease.Maartje H. N. Schermer - 2023 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 48 (4):322-334.
    Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) provides an excellent case study to investigate emerging conceptions of health, disease, pre-disease, and risk. Two scientific working groups have recently reconceptualized AD and created a new category of asymptomatic biomarker positive persons, who are either said to have preclinical AD, or to be at risk for AD. This article examines how prominent theories of health and disease would classify this condition: healthy or diseased? Next, the notion of being “at risk”—a state somewhere in-between health and disease—is (...)
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  26. Knowledge, Life, and Error. Nietzschean Themes in the Work of Georges Canguilhem.Henning Schmidgen - 2023 - In Giuseppe Bianco, Charles T. Wolfe & Gertrudis Van de Vijver (eds.), Canguilhem and Continental Philosophy of Biology. Springer. pp. 147-157.
    It is well known that authors such as Emile Chartier, i.e. Alain, Henri Bergson and Kurt Goldstein impacted importantly on the work of Georges Canguilhem. This paper argues, however, that it is the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche which gave Canguilhem’s work its most distinctive traits. Themes such as the relationship between health and disease, the influence of language on perception and knowledge, or the conception of philosophy as a philosophy of values, are obviously Nietzschean. The paper shows that in Nietzsche (...)
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  27. Severity as a moral qualifier of malady.Carl Tollef Solberg, Mathias Barra, Lars Sandman & Bjorn Hoffmann - 2023 - BMC Medical Ethics 24 (1):1-7.
    The overarching aim of this article is to scrutinize how severity can work as a qualifier for the moral impetus of malady. While there is agreement that malady is of negative value, there is disagreement about precisely how this is so. Nevertheless, alleviating disease, injury, and associated suffering is almost universally considered good. Furthermore, the strength of a diseased person’s moral claims for our attention and efforts will inevitably vary. This article starts by reflecting on what kind of moral impetus (...)
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  28. An account of medical treatment, with a preliminary account of medical conditions.Steven Tresker - 2023 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 44 (6):607-633.
    In this article, I present a philosophical account of medical treatment. In support of this account, I offer a suggestive account of medical conditions. The account of medical treatment uses three desiderata to demarcate treatment from non-treatment. Namely, a treatment should: (1) be describable by features that enable it to be standardized and characterized as a discrete intervention, (2) target a specific medical condition, and (3) have the possibility of being effective. The account of medical conditions underlies the second desideratum (...)
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  29. Correction to: Experimental philosophy of medicine and the concepts of health and disease.Walter Veit - 2023 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 44 (1):99-100.
  30. Pathologizing Ugliness: A Conceptual Analysis of the Naturalist and Normativist Claims in “Aesthetic Pathology”.Yves Saint James Aquino - 2022 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 47 (6):735-748.
    Pathologizing ugliness refers to the use of disease language and medical processes to foster and support the claim that undesirable features are pathological conditions requiring medical or surgical intervention. Primarily situated in cosmetic surgery, the practice appeals to the concept of “aesthetic pathology”, which is a medical designation for features that deviate from some designated aesthetic norms. This article offers a two-pronged conceptual analysis of aesthetic pathology. First, I argue that three sets of claims, derived from normativist and naturalistic accounts (...)
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  31. Osteoporosis and risk of fracture: reference class problems are real.Nicholas Binney - 2022 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 43 (5):375-400.
    Elselijn Kingma argues that Christopher Boorse’s biostatistical theory does not show how the reference classes it uses—namely, age groups of a sex of a species—are objective and naturalistic. Boorse has replied that this objection is of no concern, because there are no examples of clinicians’ choosing to use reference classes other than the ones he suggests. Boorse argues that clinicians use the reference classes they do because these reflect the natural classes of organisms to which their patients belong. Drawing on (...)
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  32. Reconsidering harm in psychiatric manuals within an explicationist framework.Mia Biturajac & Marko Jurjako - 2022 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 25:239–249.
    The notion of harm has been a recurring and a significant notion in the characterization of mental disorder. It is present in eminent diagnostic manuals such as DSM and ICD, as well as in the discussion on mental disorders in philosophy of psychiatry. Recent demotion of harm in the definition of mental disorders in DSM-5 shows a general trend towards reducing the significance of harm when thinking about the nature of mental disorders. In this paper, we defend the relevance of (...)
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  33. Holism and Reductionism in the Illness/Disease Debate.Marco Buzzoni, Luigi Tesio & Michael T. Stuart - 2022 - In Shyam Wuppuluri & Ian Stewart (eds.), From Electrons to Elephants and Elections. Springer. pp. 743-778.
    In the last decades it has become clear that medicine must find some way to combine its scientific and humanistic sides. In other words, an adequate notion of medicine requires an integrative position that mediates between the analytic-reductionist and the normative-holistic tendencies we find therein. This is especially important as these different styles of reasoning separate “illness” (something perceived and managed by the whole individual in concert with their environment) and “disease” (a “mechanical failure” of a biological element within the (...)
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  34. New Approach to Disease, Risk, and Boundaries Based on Emergent Probability.Patrick Daly - 2022 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 47 (3):457-481.
    The status of risk factors and disease remains a disputed question in the theory and practice of medicine and healthcare, and so does the related question of delineating disease boundaries. I present a framework based on Bernard Lonergan’s account of emergent probability for differentiating (1) generically distinct levels of systematic function within organisms and between organisms and their environments and (2) the methods of functional, genetic, and statistical investigation. I then argue on this basis that it is possible to understand (...)
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  35. Del Castigo Divino Al Diagnóstico: La Concepción de la Enfermedad En Sófocles E Hipócrates.Joaquín Fortanet Fernández - 2022 - Agora 41 (2).
    Este texto analiza el cambio en la noción de enfermedad que se produjo en el siglo V a.c. a través de la comparación entre _nosos, insania y peste_ en las tragedias de Sófocles con el nuevo proceso diagnóstico que se pone en marcha con el establecimiento del corpus hipocrático. Analizando las causas, la cura y el ser de la enfermedad en el Filoctetes, el Ayax y Edipo Rey, podremos observar las distancias con respecto a la concepción técnica y racional del (...)
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  36. Losing our minds: the challenge of defining mental illness.Lucy Foulkes - 2022 - New York: St. Martin's Press.
    A compelling and incisive book that questions the overuse of mental health terms to describe universal human emotions Public awareness of mental illness has been transformed in recent years, but our understanding of how to define it has yet to catch up. Too often, psychiatric disorders are confused with the inherent stresses and challenges of human experience. A narrative has taken hold that a mental health crisis has been building among young people. In this profoundly sensitive and constructive book, psychologist (...)
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  37. Nosological Diagnosis, Theories of Categorization, and Argumentations by Analogy.Francesco Gagliardi - 2022 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 47 (2):311-330.
    The nosological diagnosis is a particular type of nontheoretical diagnosis consisting of identifying the disease that afflicts the patient without explaining the underlying etiopathological mechanisms. Its origins are within the essentialist point of view on the nature of diseases, which dates back at least to 18th-century taxonomy studies. In this article, we propose a model of nosological diagnosis as a two-phase process composed of the categorization of inductive inferences and argumentations by analogy. In the inductive phase, disease entities are identified (...)
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  38. From psychiatric kinds to harmful symptoms.Christophe Gauld - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-25.
    Much research in the philosophy of psychiatry has been devoted to the characterization of the normal and the pathological. In this article, we identify and deconstruct two postulates that have held sway in the philosophy of psychiatry. The first postulate concerns the belief that clinicians would benefit from conceiving of psychiatric disorders as stable entities with clear boundaries. By relying on a symptom-based approach, we support a conception of psychiatric disorders whose symptoms are the products of many activated mechanisms in (...)
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  39. Pathological Withdrawal Syndrome: A New Kind of Depression?Katelynn V. Healy - 2022 - Inquiries Journal.
    Marion Godman makes the argument that Pathological Withdrawal Syndrome (PWS) makes the case for psychiatric disorders as a natural kind. Godman argues that we can classify kinds according to their shared ‘grounding’, but we need not know what the grounding is to know that the natural is a natural kind. However, I argue that Godman erroneously classifies PWS as its own natural kind when it is in fact a variant of depression, which is its own natural kind. Cooper highlights culture-bound (...)
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  40. The value-ladenness of psychopathy.Marko Jurjako & Luca Malatesti - 2022 - In Luca Malatesti, John McMillan & Predrag Šustar (eds.), Psychopathy: Its Uses, Validity and Status. Cham: Springer. pp. 215-233.
    The recurring claim that the construct of psychopathy is value laden often is not qualified in enough detail. The chapters in this part of the volume, instead, investigate in depth the role and significance of values in different aspects of the construct of psychopathy. Following these chapters, but also by offering a background to them, we show how certain values are involved in the characterisation of psychopathy, inform societal needs satisfied by this construct, and have a central role in determining (...)
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  41. How an Addiction Ontology Can Unify Competing Conceptualizations of Addiction.Robert M. Kelly, Robert West & Janna Hastings - 2022 - In Nick Heather, Matt Field, Anthony Moss & Sally Satel (eds.), Evaluating the Brain Disease Model of Addiction. New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
    Disagreement about the nature of ‘addiction’, such as whether it is a brain disease, arises in part because the label is applied to a wide range of phenomena. This creates conceptual and definitional confusions and misunderstandings, often leading to researchers talking past one another. Ontologies have been successfully implemented in other fields to help solve these problems by creating unifying frameworks that can accommodate divergence while clarifying the basis for it. We argue that ontologies can help transform the way we (...)
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  42. What Counts as a Disease, and Why Does It Matter?Quill R. Kukla - 2022 - Journal of Philosophy of Disability 2:130-156.
    I argue that the concept of disease serves such radically different strategic purposes for different kinds of stakeholders that coming up with a unified philosophical definition of disease is hopeless. Instead, I defend a radically pluralist, pragmatist account of when it is appropriate to mobilize the concept of disease. I argue that it is appropriate to categorize a condition as a disease when it serves legitimate strategic goals to at least partially medicalize that condition, and when the condition is pathological (...)
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  43. Not merely the absence of disease: A genealogy of the WHO’s positive health definition.Lars Thorup Larsen - 2022 - History of the Human Sciences 35 (1):111-131.
    The 1948 constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. It was a bold and revolutionary health idea to gain international consensus in a period characterized by fervent anti-communism. This article explores the genealogy of the health definition and demonstrates how it was possible to expand the scope of health, redefine it as ‘well-being’, and overcome ideological resistance to progressive and (...)
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  44. Correction to: Ethnomedical Specialists and their Supernatural Theories of Disease.Aaron D. Lightner, Cynthiann Heckelsmiller & Edward H. Hagen - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (2):523-523.
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  45. Prolonged grief as a disease?Ronja Lutz, Cornelia Eibauer & Andreas Frewer - 2022 - Ethik in der Medizin 34 (4):609-626.
    Definition of the problem The eleventh version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), which became effective in 2022, has raised a number of issues associated with medical ethics. Arguments In this context the paper explores the normative view of grief as a disease. ICD-11 contains the new diagnosis of “prolonged grief disorder” with a definition that fails to aid its clear distinction from the normal course of grief. The article discusses the philosophical and ethical implications of this diagnosis and (...)
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  46. Some Issues Concerning the Concept of Mental Illness.Cristian Marques - 2022 - Studies in Social Sciences Review 2 (3):186-194.
    Our main objective is to locate and analyze some philosophical issues about the concept of mental illness and the manner it is used, especially in contemporary psychiatry. It is even difficult to find a standard meaning in the main psychiatric textbooks; and, when there is some exposition of the concept, it is sparse, uncritical and vague. As an immediate consequence of these issues, practical guidelines and protocols for the clinic arise, which become almost “automatic”, unreflective behaviors, practices translated as health (...)
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  47. Mental Disorder and Suicide: What’s the Connection?Hane Htut Maung - 2022 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 47 (3):345-367.
    This paper offers a philosophical analysis of the connection between mental disorder and suicide risk. In contemporary psychiatry, it is commonly suggested that this connection is a causal connection that has been established through empirical discovery. Herein, I examine the extent to which this claim can be sustained. I argue that the connection between mental disorder and increased suicide risk is not wholly causal but is partly conceptual. This in part relates to the way suicidality is built into the definitions (...)
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  48. Is Aging a Disease? The Theoretical Definition of Aging in the Light of the Philosophy of Medicine.Cristian Saborido & Pablo García-Barranquero - 2022 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 47 (6):770-783.
    In the philosophical debate on aging, it is common to raise the question of the theoretical definition of aging in terms of its possible characterization as a disease. Understanding aging as a disease seems to imply its medicalization, which has important practical consequences. In this paper, we analyze the question of whether aging is a disease by appealing to the concept of disease in the philosophy of medicine. As a result of this analysis, we argue that a pragmatist approach to (...)
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  49. Critique and Refinement of the Wakefieldian Concept of Disorder: An Improvement of the Harmful Dysfunction Analysis.Emmanuel Smith - 2022 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 47 (4):530-539.
    One way in which bioethicists can benefit the medical community is by clarifying the concept of disorder. Since insurance companies refer to the DSM for whether a patient should receive assistance, one must consider the consequences of one’s concept of disorder for who should be provided with care. I offer a refinement of Jerome Wakefield’s hybrid concept of disorder, the harmful dysfunction analysis. I criticize both the factual component and the value component of Wakefield’s account and suggest how they might (...)
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  50. Psychiatric Disorders Are Soft Natural Kinds.Dan J. Stein - 2022 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 29 (3):183-185.
    Tilmes concludes his interesting and informative piece with the sentence that “analysis of psychiatric vagueness merits further consideration.” I agree with this point, as well as with his earlier assertion that how one understands psychiatric vagueness may implicate the diagnostic model that one adopts, and the research that one pursues. Fortunately, there has been recent attention to vagueness in psychiatry, addressing both degree-vagueness and combinatorial vagueness. Vagueness in psychiatry is related to a range of nosological debates, including about the...
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