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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 1978, 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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690 found
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1 — 50 / 690
  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. From Blocked Flows to Suppressed Emotions: The Life of a Trope.Stewart Justman - forthcoming - Medical Humanities:medhum-2020-011878.
    Internal blockages and build-ups cause disease: traditionally, this principle seemed intuitive both to professionals and the laity, explained conditions as diverse as melancholy and scurvy, and justified the use of evacuative treatments to get rid of noxious matter. With the collapse of humoral medicine and the establishment of the concept of specific causation, one might have expected time-honoured tropes of obstruction to die off. They did not die off, but moved with the times and adapted to new conditions. Emphasis swung (...)
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  4. Ethics of Vaccine Refusal.Michael Kowalik - forthcoming - Journal of Medical Ethics.
    Proponents of vaccine mandates typically claim that everyone who can be vaccinated has a moral or ethical obligation to do so for the sake of those who cannot be vaccinated, or in the interest of public health. I evaluate several previously undertheorised premises implicit to the ‘obligation to vaccinate’ type of arguments and show that the general conclusion is false: there is neither a moral obligation to vaccinate nor a sound ethical basis to mandate vaccination under any circumstances, even for (...)
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  5. Not Merely the Absence of Disease: A Genealogy of the WHO’s Positive Health Definition.Lars Thorup Larsen - forthcoming - History of the Human Sciences:095269512199535.
    The 1948 constitution of the World Health Organization 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 international (...)
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  6. Mental Disorder and Suicide: What’s the Connection?Hane Htut Maung - forthcoming - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy:jhab015.
    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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  7. Medicine and the Meaning of Life (Tentative Title).Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Alex Broadbent (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Medicine. Oxford University Press.
    A critical survey of how the value of meaning in life has figured, and plausibly could figure, into philosophical reflection on the ends of, means of, and constraints on medical practice.
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  8. 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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  9. The Illness-Disease Dichotomy and the Biological-Clinical Splitting of Medicine.Luigi Tesio & Marco Buzzoni - forthcoming - Medical Humanities:medhum-2020-011873.
    In a recent paper, Sharpe and Greco argue that some clinical conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, should be treated by altering the patient's experience and response to symptoms without necessarily searching for an underlying cause. As a result, we should allow for the existence of ‘illnesses without diseases’. Wilshire and Ward reply that this possibility requires unwarranted causal assumptions about the psychosocial origins of conditions not predicted by a disease model. In so doing, it is argued that Sharpe and (...)
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  10. Health and Disease as Practical Concepts: Exploring Function in Context-Specific Definitions.Rik van der Linden & Maartje Schermer - forthcoming - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy.
    Despite the longstanding debate on definitions of health and disease concepts, and the multitude of accounts that have been developed, no consensus has been reached. This is problematic, as the way we define health and disease has far-reaching practical consequences. In recent contributions it is proposed to view health and disease as practical- and plural concepts. Instead of searching for a general definition, it is proposed to stipulate context-specific definitions. However, it is not clear how this should be realized. In (...)
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  11. Naturalism, Disease, and Levels of Functional Description.Somogy Varga & David Miguel Gray - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy and Medicine.
    The paper engages Christopher Boorse’s (1975, 1976, 1977, 1987, 1997, 2014) Bio-Statistical Theory (BST). In its current form, BST runs into a significant challenge. For BST to account for its central tenet—that lower-level part-dysfunction is sufficient for higher-level pathology—it must provide criteria for how to decide which lower-level parts are the ones to be analyzed for health or pathology. As BST is a naturalistic theory, such choices must be based solely on naturalistic considerations. An argument will be provided to show (...)
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  12. Disease as a Deontic Construct.Kazem Sadegh-Zadeh - 2nd ed. 2015 - In Handbook of Analytic Philosophy of Medicine. Springer Verlag.
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  13. 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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  14. Do Feeding and Eating Disorders Fit the General Definition of Mental Disorder?M. Cristina Amoretti - 2021 - Topoi 40 (3):555-564.
    This paper aims at considering the conceptual status of feeding and eating disorders (FEDs). Now that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has changed the classification and some relevant criteria of FEDs, it is particularly relevant to evaluate their psychiatric framework and their status as mental disorders. I focus my efforts on address- ing only one specific question: Do FEDs fit the DSM-5 general definition of mental disorder? In DSM-5 a mental disorder is defined as a syndrome (...)
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  15. Wherein is the Concept of Disease Normative? From Weak Normativity to Value-Conscious Naturalism.M. Cristina Amoretti & Elisabetta Lalumera - 2021 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 25:1-14.
    In this paper we focus on some new normativist positions and compare them with traditional ones. In so doing, we claim that if normative judgments are involved in determining whether a condition is a disease only in the sense identified by new normativisms, then disease is normative only in a weak sense, which must be distinguished from the strong sense advocated by traditional normativisms. Specifically, we argue that weak and strong normativity are different to the point that one ‘normativist’ label (...)
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  16. The Archaeology and Philosophy of Health: Navigating the New Normal Problem.Carl Brusse - 2021 - In Anton Killin & Sean Allen Hermanson (eds.), Explorations in Archaeology and Philosophy. Cham: pp. 101-122.
    It is often taken for granted that notions of health and disease are generally applicable across the biological world, in that they are not restricted to contemporary human beings, and can be unproblematically applied to a variety of organisms both past and present (taking relevant differences between species into account). In the historical sciences it is also common to normatively contrast health states of individuals and populations from different times and places: e.g., to say that due to nutrition or pathogen (...)
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  17. On Recovery: Re-Directing the Concept by Differentiation of its Meanings.Yael Friedman - 2021 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 24 (3):389-399.
    Recovery is a commonly used concept in both professional and everyday contexts. Yet despite its extensive use, it has not drawn much philosophical attention. In this paper, I question the common understanding of recovery, show how the concept is inadequate, and introduce new and much needed terminology. I argue that recovery glosses over important distinctions and even misrepresents the process of moving away from malady as "going back" to a former state of health. It does not invite important nuances needed (...)
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  18. Towards a socially constructed and objective concept of mental disorder.Anne-Marie Gagné-Julien - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):9401-9426.
    In this paper, I argue for a new way to understand the integration of facts and values in the concept of mental disorder that has the potential to avoid the flaws of previous hybrid approaches. I import conceptual tools from the account of procedural objectivity defended by Helen Longino to resolve the controversy over the definition of mental disorder. My argument is threefold: I first sketch the history of the debate opposing objectivists and constructivists and focus on the criticisms that (...)
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  19. Can Populations Be Healthy? Perspectives From Georges Canguilhem and Geoffrey Rose.Élodie Giroux - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (4):1-23.
    Canguilhem criticized the concept of “public health”: health and disease are concepts that only apply to individuals, taken as organic totalities. Their extension to a different level of organization is purely metaphorical. The importance assumed by epidemiology in the construction of our knowledge of the normal and the pathological does, however, call for reflection on the role and the status of the population level of organization in our approach to health phenomena. The entanglement of the biological and the social in (...)
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  20. 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.
    Prevention of age-related disorders is increasingly in focus of health policies, and it is hoped that early intervention on processes of deterioration can promote healthier and longer lives. New opportunities to slow down the aging process are emerging with new fields such as personalized nutrition. Data-intensive research has the potential to improve the precision of existing risk factors, e.g., to replace coarse-grained markers such as blood cholesterol with more detailed multivariate biomarkers. In this paper, we follow an attempt to develop (...)
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  21. How to Draw the Line Between Health and Disease? Start with Suffering.Bjørn Hofmann - 2021 - Health Care Analysis 29 (2):127-143.
    How can we draw the line between health and disease? This crucial question of demarcation has immense practical implications and has troubled scholars for ages. The question will be addressed in three steps. First, I will present an important contribution by Rogers and Walker who argue forcefully that no line can be drawn between health and disease. However, a closer analysis of their argument reveals that a line-drawing problem for disease-related features does not necessarily imply a line-drawing problem for disease (...)
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  22. A Network Perspective on the Comorbidity of Personality Disorders and Mental Disorders: An Illustration of Depression and Borderline Personality Disorder.Annemarie C. J. Köhne & Adela-Maria Isvoranu - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 12.
    The comorbidity of personality disorders and mental disorders is commonly understood through three types of theoretical models: either a) personality disorders precede mental disorders, b) mental disorders precede personality disorders, c) mental disorders and personality disorders share common etiological grounds. Although these hypotheses differ with respect to their idea of causal direction, they all imply a latent variable perspective, in which it is assumed that either personality and mental disorders are latent variables that have certain causal relations [models a) and (...)
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  23. Causation and Causal Selection in the Biopsychosocial Model of Health and Disease.Hane Htut Maung - 2021 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 2 (17):M5-M27.
    In The Biopsychosocial Model of Health and Disease, Derek Bolton and Grant Gillett argue that a defensible updated version of the biopsychosocial model requires a metaphysically adequate account of disease causation that can accommodate biological, psychological, and social factors. This present paper offers a philosophical critique of their account of biopsychosocial causation. I argue that their account relies on claims about the normativity and the semantic content of biological information that are metaphysically contentious. Moreover, I suggest that these claims are (...)
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  24. On Grounds, Anchors, and Diseases: A Reply to Glackin.Alex James Miller Tate & Thomas Davies - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (2):428-437.
    Shane Glackin's 2019 Philosophical Quarterly article aims to offer a framework for understanding the philosophical debate about the nature of disease and utilise this framework to reply to several standard objections to normativist theories of disease. Specifically, Glackin claims his model avoids three central challenges to normativism, which we term the ‘Flippancy Problem’, ‘Repugnancy Problem’, and the ‘Explanatory Problem’. Although we find Glackin's framework helpful in clarifying the terrain of the debate, we argue these three challenges continue to afflict his (...)
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  25. When a Hybrid Account of Disorder is Not Enough: The Case of Gender Dysphoria.Kathleen Murphy-Hollies - 2021 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 17 (2):(SI4)5-26.
    In this paper I discuss Wakefield’s account of mental disorder as applied to the case of gender dysphoria (GD). I argue that despite being a hybrid account which brings together a naturalistic and normative element in order to avoid pathologising normal or expectable states, the theory alone is still not extensive enough to answer the question of whether GD should be classed as a disorder. I suggest that the hybrid account falls short in adequately investigating how the harm and dysfunction (...)
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  26. The Quantitative Problem for Theories of Dysfunction and Disease.Thomas Schramme - 2021 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 17 (2):(SI7)5-30.
    Many biological functions allow for grades. For example, secretion of a specific hormone in an organism can be on a higher or lower level, compared to the same organism at another occasion or compared to other organisms. What levels of functioning constitute instances of dysfunction; where should we draw the line? This is the quantitative problem for theories of dysfunction and disease. I aim to defend a version of biological theories of dysfunction to tackle this problem. However, I will also (...)
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  27. Function, Dysfunction, and the Concept of Mental Disorder.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2021 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 28 (4):371-375.
    Naturalistic accounts of mental disorder aim to identify an objective basis for attributions of mental disorder. This goal is important for demarcating genuine mental disorders from artificial or socially constructed disorders. The articulation of a demarcation criterion provides a means for assuring that attributions of 'mental disorder' are not merely pathologizing different forms of social deviance. The most influential naturalistic and hybrid definitions of mental disorder identify biological dysfunction as the objective basis of mental disorders: genuine mental...
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  28. Philosophy of Psychiatry.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Jonathan Y. Tsou examines and defends positions on central issues in philosophy of psychiatry. The positions defended assume a naturalistic and realist perspective and are framed against skeptical perspectives on biological psychiatry. Issues addressed include the reality of mental disorders; mechanistic and disease explanations of abnormal behavior; definitions of mental disorder; natural and artificial kinds in psychiatry; biological essentialism and the projectability of psychiatric categories; looping effects and the stability of mental disorders; psychiatric classification; and the validity of the DSM's (...)
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  29. Biological Normativity: A New Hope for Naturalism?Walter Veit - 2021 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 24 (2):291-301.
    Since Boorse [Philos Sci 44:542–573, 1977] published his paper “Health as a theoretical concept” one of the most lively debates within philosophy of medicine has been on the question of whether health and disease are in some sense ‘objective’ and ‘value-free’ or ‘subjective’ and ‘value-laden’. Due to the apparent ‘failure’ of pure naturalist, constructivist, or normativist accounts, much in the recent literature has appealed to more conciliatory approaches or so-called ‘hybrid accounts’ of health and disease. A recent paper by Matthewson (...)
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  30. Do Feeding and Eating Disorders Fit the General Definition of Mental Disorder?M. Cristina Amoretti - 2020 - Topoi 40 (3):555-564.
    This paper aims at considering the conceptual status of feeding and eating disorders. Now that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has changed the classification and some relevant criteria of FEDs, it is particularly relevant to evaluate their psychiatric framework and their status as mental disorders. I focus my efforts on addressing only one specific question: Do FEDs fit the DSM-5 general definition of mental disorder? In DSM-5 a mental disorder is defined as a syndrome that reflects a (...)
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  31. The concept of disease in the time of COVID-19.Maria Cristina Amoretti & Elisabetta Lalumera - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 41 (5):203-221.
    Philosophers of medicine have formulated different accounts of the concept of disease. Which concept of disease one assumes has implications for what conditions count as diseases and, by extension, who may be regarded as having a disease and for who may be accorded the social privileges and personal responsibilities associated with being sick. In this article, we consider an ideal diagnostic test for coronavirus disease 2019 infection with respect to four groups of people—positive and asymptomatic; positive and symptomatic; negative; and (...)
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  32. Doctors Without ‘Disorders’.Lisa Bortolotti - 2020 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 94 (1):163-184.
    On one influential view, the problems that should attract medical attention involve a disorder, because the goals of medical practice are to prevent and treat disorders. Based on this view, if there are no mental disorders then the status of psychiatry as a medical field is challenged. In this paper, I observe that it is often difficult to establish whether the problems that attract medical attention involve a disorder, and argue that none of the notions of disorder proposed so far (...)
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  33. The Concept of Disorder Revisited: Robustly VAlue-Laden Despite Change.I.—Rachel Cooper - 2020 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 94 (1):141-161.
    Our concept of disorder is changing. This causes problems for projects of descriptive conceptual analysis. Conceptual change means that a criterion that was necessary for a condition to be a disorder at one time may cease to be necessary a relatively short time later. Nevertheless, some conceptually based claims will be fairly robust. In particular, the claim that no adequate account of disorder can appeal only to biological facts can be maintained for the foreseeable future. This is because our current (...)
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  34. Medical disorder, harm, and damage.Neil Feit - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 41 (1):39-52.
    Jerome Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction analysis of medical disorder is an influential hybrid of naturalist and normative theories. In order to conclude that a condition is a disorder, according to the HDA, one must determine both that it results from a failure of a physical or psychological mechanism to perform its natural function and that it is harmful. In a recent issue of this journal, I argued that the HDA entails implausible judgments about which disorders there are and how they are (...)
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  35. Diseases Are Not Adaptations and Neither Are Their Causes: A Response to Ardern’s "Dysfunction, Disease, and the Limits of Selection".Paul E. Griffiths & John Matthewson - 2020 - Biological Theory 15 (3):136-142.
    In a recent article in this journal, Zachary Ardern criticizes our view that the most promising candidate for a naturalized criterion of disease is the "selected effects" account of biological function and dysfunction. Here we reply to Ardern’s criticisms and, more generally, clarify the relationship between adaptation and dysfunction in the evolution of health and disease.
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  36. A naturalist response to Kingma’s critique of naturalist accounts of disease.David B. Hershenov - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 41 (2):83-97.
    Elselijn Kingma maintains that Christopher Boorse and other naturalists in the philosophy of medicine cannot deliver the value-free account of disease that they promise. Even if disease is understood as dysfunction and that notion can be applied in a value-free manner, values still manifest themselves in the justification for picking one particular operationalization of dysfunction over a number of competing alternatives. Disease determinations depend upon comparisons within a reference class vis-à-vis reaching organism goals. Boorse considers reference classes for a species (...)
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  37. What Does It Take to Be a Brain Disorder?Anneli Jefferson - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):249-262.
    In this paper, I address the question whether mental disorders should be understood to be brain disorders and what conditions need to be met for a disorder to be rightly described as a brain disorder. I defend the view that mental disorders are autonomous and that a condition can be a mental disorder without at the same time being a brain disorder. I then show the consequences of this view. The most important of these is that brain differences underlying mental (...)
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  38. The Irrelevance of Harm for a Theory of Disease.Dane Muckler & James Stacey Taylor - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (3):332-349.
    Normativism holds that there is a close conceptual link between disease and disvalue. We challenge normativism by advancing an argument against a popular normativist theory, Jerome Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction account. Wakefield maintains that medical disorders are breakdowns in evolved mechanisms that cause significant harm to the organism. We argue that Wakefield’s account is not a promising way to distinguish between disease and health because being harmful is neither necessary nor sufficient for a dysfunction to be a disorder. Counterexamples to the (...)
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  39. Mental Disorder as Both Natural and Normative: Developing the Normative Dimension of the 3e Conceptual Framework for Psychopathology.Kristopher Nielsen & Tony Ward - 2020 - Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 40 (2):107-123.
  40. Galen on the Definition of Disease.Luis Alejandro Salas - 2020 - American Journal of Philology 141 (4):603-634.
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  41. Theoretical and Clinical Disease and the Biostatistical Theory.Steven Tresker - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 82:101249.
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  42. Epistemic Authority, Philosophical Explication, and the Bio-Statistical Theory of Disease.Somogy Varga - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (4):937-956.
    Christopher Boorse’s Health care ethics: an introduction, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, pp 359–393, 1987; in Humber, Almeder, Totowa What is disease?, Humana Press, New York City, pp 1–134, 1997; J Med Philos, 39:683–724, 2014) Bio-Statistical Theory comprehends diseases in terms of departures from natural norms, which involve an objectively describable deviation from the proper physiological or psychological functioning of parts of the human organism. I argue that while recent revisions and additional considerations shield the BST from a number of issues (...)
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  43. Experimental Philosophy of Medicine and the Concepts of Health and Disease.Walter Veit - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics:1-18.
    If one had to identify the biggest change within the philosophical tradition in the twenty-first century, it would certainly be the rapid rise of experimental philosophy to address differences in intuitions about concepts. It is, therefore, surprising that the philosophy of medicine has so far not drawn on the tools of experimental philosophy in the context of a particular conceptual debate that has overshadowed all others in the field: the long-standing dispute between so-called naturalists and normativists about the concepts of (...)
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  44. Harm as a Necessary Component of the Concept of Medical Disorder: Reply to Muckler and Taylor.Jerome C. Wakefield & Jordan A. Conrad - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (3):350-370.
    Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction analysis asserts that the concept of medical disorder includes a naturalistic component of dysfunction and a value component, both of which are required for disorder attributions. Muckler and Taylor, defending a purely naturalist, value-free understanding of disorder, argue that harm is not necessary for disorder. They provide three examples of dysfunctions that, they claim, are considered disorders but are entirely harmless: mild mononucleosis, cowpox that prevents smallpox, and minor perceptual deficits. They also reject the proposal that dysfunctions (...)
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  45. Conceptualising Illness and Disease: Reflections on Sharpe and Greco.Carolyn Wilshire & Tony Ward - 2020 - Medical Humanities 46 (4):532-536.
    In a recent paper, Sharpe and Greco suggest that chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis can be viewed as an instance of “illness without disease”, and consequently, treatment should be directed towards altering the patient’s experience of, and response to, their symptoms. We discuss two broad issues that arise from Sharpe and Greco’s article, one relating to the assumptions they make about MECFS and its treatment specifically, and the other relating to their conceptualisation of the illness/disease dichotomy. We argue that the term (...)
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  46. An Analytic Framework for Conceptualisations of Disease: Nine Structuring Questions and How Some Conceptualisations of Alzheimer’s Disease Can Lead to ‘Diseasisation’.Kristin Zeiler - 2020 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (4):677-693.
    According to the US National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease should be understood as a biological construct. It can be diagnosed based on AD-characteristic biomarkers only, even if AD biomarkers can be present many years before a person experiences any symptoms of AD. The NIA-AA’s conceptualisation of AD radically challenges past AD conceptualisations. This article offers an analytic framework for the clarification and analysis of meanings and effects of conceptualisations of diseases such as that of AD. (...)
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  47. We Should Eliminate the Concept of Disease From Mental Health.Nicholas Agar - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (9):591-591.
    Russell Powell and Eric Scarffe1 are pluralists about disease. They offer their thickly normative account to meet the needs of doctors, but they allow that a different concept of disease might work better for zoologists. In this commentary, I grant that Powell and Scarffe’s thickly normative evaluation of biological dysfunction works well in many medicinal contexts. Powell and Scarffe respond effectively to eliminativists—we should retain the concept of disease. But the paper’s pluralism and focus on the specific needs of institutions (...)
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  48. A Potential Tension in DSM-5: The General Definition of Mental Disorder Versus Some Specific Diagnostic Criteria.M. Cristina Amoretti & Elisabetta Lalumera - 2019 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 44 (1):85-108.
    The general concept of mental disorder specified in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is definitional in character: a mental disorder might be identified with a harmful dysfunction. The manual also contains the explicit claim that each individual mental disorder should meet the requirements posed by the definition. The aim of this article is two-fold. First, we shall analyze the definition of the superordinate concept of mental disorder to better understand what necessary criteria actually (...)
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  49. Harm Should Not Be a Necessary Criterion for Mental Disorder: Some Reflections on the DSM-5 Definition of Mental Disorder.Maria Cristina Amoretti & Elisabetta Lalumera - 2019 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 40 (4):321-337.
    The general definition of mental disorder stated in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders seems to identify a mental disorder with a harmful dysfunction. However, the presence of distress or disability, which may be bracketed as the presence of harm, is taken to be merely usual, and thus not a necessary requirement: a mental disorder can be diagnosed as such even if there is no harm at all. In this paper, we focus on the (...)
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  50. The Biopsychosocial Model of Health and Disease: New Philosophical and Scientific Developments.Derek Bolton & Grant Gillett - 2019 - Springer Verlag.
    This open access book is a systematic update of the philosophical and scientific foundations of the biopsychosocial model of health, disease and healthcare. First proposed by George Engel 40 years ago, the Biopsychosocial Model is much cited in healthcare settings worldwide, but has been increasingly criticised for being vague, lacking in content, and in need of reworking in the light of recent developments. The book confronts the rapid changes to psychological science, neuroscience, healthcare, and philosophy that have occurred since the (...)
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