A qualified defence of a naturalist theory of health

Abstract

The paper contrasts Lennart Nordenfelt’s normative theory of health with the naturalists’ point of view, especially in the version developed by Christopher Boorse. In the first part it defends Boorse’s analysis of disease against the charge that it falls short of its own standards by not being descriptive. The second part of the paper sets out to analyse the positive concept of health and introduces a distinction between a positive definition of health (‘health’ is not defined as absence of disease but in positive terms) and a positive conception of health (health is seen as an ideal). An objection against Nordenfelt’s account is developed by making use of a specific example of an ambitious athlete. It is stated that Nordenfelt’s conceptualisation includes too many phenomena under the umbrella of ill health. An ideal conception of health like Nordenfelt’s is in danger of supporting medicalization. In conclusion, although Nordenfelt’s theory is not altogether rejected and even seen in congruence with Boorse’s account, it is claimed that the naturalistic framework should obtain conceptual priority

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
2013-12-01

Downloads
45 (#255,587)

6 months
1 (#388,319)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Thomas Schramme
University of Liverpool

References found in this work

Health as a Theoretical Concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.
On the Distinction Between Disease and Illness.Christopher Boorse - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 5 (1):49-68.
A Rebuttal on Health.Christopher Boorse - 1997 - In James M. Humber & Robert F. Almeder (eds.), What is Disease? Humana Press. pp. 1--134.
What a Theory of Mental Health Should Be.Christopher Boorse - 1976 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 6 (1):61–84.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

Naturalism About Health and Disease: Adding Nuance for Progress.Elselijn Kingma - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):590-608.
Current Dilemmas in Defining the Boundaries of Disease.Jenny Doust, Mary Jean Walker & Wendy A. Rogers - 2017 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 42 (4):350-366.
A Dispositional Theory of Health.Sander Werkhoven - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (4):927-952.

View all 28 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Strong Holism, Weak Holism, and Health.Inge-Bert Täljedal - 2004 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 7 (2):143-148.
The Notion of Health and the Morality of Genetic Intervention.Erik Malmqvist - 2005 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 9 (2):181-192.
A Two-Dimensional Theory of Health.Per-Anders Tengland - 2007 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28 (4):257-284.
The Concept of Health and Disease.József Kovács - 1998 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 1 (1):31-39.
The Significance of the Concept of Disease for Justice in Health Care.Thomas Schramme - 2007 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28 (2):121-135.
On Medicine and Health Enhancement - Towards a Conceptual Framework.Lennart Nordenfelt - 1998 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 1 (1):5-12.
An Agenda for Future Debate on Concepts of Health and Disease.George Khushf - 2007 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 10 (1):19-27.
A Pathological View of Disease.William E. Stempsey - 2000 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 21 (4):321-330.
The Concepts of Health and Illness Revisited.Lennart Nordenfelt - 2006 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 10 (1):5-10.
Health as a Theoretical Concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.
Concepts of Health and Disease.Jozsef Kovacs - 1989 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 14 (3):261-267.