On the goals of medicine, health enhancement and social welfare

Health Care Analysis 9 (1):15-23 (2001)


Bengt Brülde in his article ``The Goals of Medicine. Towards a Unified Theory'' has proposed a normative theory of the goals of medicine within which the concept of quality of life plays a crucial role. In Brülde's analysis, however, the very concept of medicine is deliberately left quite vague and it is therefore difficult to see how the goals of medicine are related to the goals of closely allied enterprises such as health promotion and social welfare. In this reply I therefore propose an analysis of these related conceptual areas. I do this mainly in two respects. Following the nomenclature in a previously published article I propose a systematic conceptual framework for all varieties of health enhancement and distinguish different notions of medicine within this framework. A consequence of this analysis is, for instance, that the means and also the immediate goals of medicine in its broadest sense are more diversified than the means and immediate goals of medicine in its narrowest sense. From this position I expand the topic further by comparing medicine and health enhancement with social welfare and try to trace the basic features between – as well as the common properties of – these different enterprises.

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,855

External links

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

Through your library


Added to PP

58 (#200,216)

6 months
1 (#386,001)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Doctors Without ‘Disorders’.Lisa Bortolotti - 2020 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 94 (1):163-184.
Human Enhancement: Enhancing Health or Harnessing Happiness?Bjørn Hofmann - 2019 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 16 (1):87-98.
On the Relationship Between Individual and Population Health.Onyebuchi A. Arah - 2009 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 12 (3):235-244.

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

On Medicine and Health Enhancement - Towards a Conceptual Framework.Lennart Nordenfelt - 1998 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 1 (1):5-12.
The Goals of Medicine. Towards a Unified Theory.Bengt Brülde - 2001 - Health Care Analysis 9 (1):1-13.
The Limits of Medical Practice.Ingemar Nordin - 1999 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 20 (2):105-123.
Medicine as Patriarchal Religion.Janice G. Raymond - 1982 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 7 (2):197-216.
Philosophy of Medical Practice: A Discursive Approach.Evert Van Leeuwen & Gerrit K. Kimsma - 1997 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 18 (1-2):99-112.
A Two-Dimensional Theory of Health.Per-Anders Tengland - 2007 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28 (4):257-284.
Setting Goals in Health Promotion. A Conceptual and Ethical Platform.Per-Erik Liss - 2000 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 3 (2):169-173.
Voluntary Euthanasia, Physician-Assisted Suicide, and the Goals of Medicine.Jukka Varelius - 2006 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 31 (2):121 – 137.
The Internal Morality of Medicine: An Evolutionary Perspective.Franklin G. Miller & Howard Brody - 2001 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 26 (6):581 – 599.
The Practical Science of Medicine.Nancy Maull - 1981 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 6 (2):165-182.