Health Care Analysis 29 (2):127-143 (2021)

Abstract
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 as such. The second step analyzes some alternative approaches to drawing the line between health and disease. While these approaches do not provide full answers to the question, they indicate that the line-drawing question should not be dismissed too hastily. The third step investigates whether the line-drawing problem can find its solution in the concept of suffering. In particular, I investigate whether returning to the origin of medicine, with the primary and ultimate goal of reducing suffering, may provide sources of demarcation between health and disease. In fact, the reason why we pay attention to particular phenomena as characteristics of disease, consider certain processes to be relevant, and specific functions are classified as dys-functions, is that they are related to suffering. Accordingly, using suffering as a criterion of demarcation between health and disease may hinder a wide range of challenges with modern medicine, such as unwarranted expansion of disease, overdiagnosis, overtreatment, and medicalization.
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DOI 10.1007/s10728-021-00434-0
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References found in this work BETA

Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
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A Second Rebuttal On Health.Christopher Boorse - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):683-724.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Quantitative Problem for Theories of Dysfunction and Disease.Thomas Schramme - 2021 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 17 (2):(SI7)5-30.

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