Bioethics 30 (1):8-18 (2016)

Abstract
The discussion about theories of health has recently had an important new input through the work of Sridhar Venkatapuram. He proposes a combination of Lennart Nordenfelt's holistic theory of health and Martha Nussbaum's version of the capability approach. The aim of the present article is to discuss and evaluate this proposal. The article starts with a discussion of Nordenfelt's theory and evaluates Venkatapuram’ critique of it, that is, of its relativism, both regarding goals and environment, and of the subjectivist theory of happiness used. Then the article explains why Nordenfelt's idea of a reasonable environment is not a problem for the theory, and it critiques Venkatapuram's own incorporation of the environment into the concept of health, suggesting that this makes the concept too wide. It contends, moreover, that Venkatapuram's alternative theory retains a problem inherent in Nordenfelt's theory, namely, that health is conceived of as a second-order ability. It is argued that health should, instead, be defined as first-order abilities. This means that health cannot be seen as a capability, and also that health cannot be seen as a meta-capability of the kind envisioned by Venkatapuram. It is, furthermore, argued that the theory lacks one crucial aspect of health, namely, subjective wellbeing. Finally, the article tries to illustrate how health, in the suggested alternative sense, as first-order abilities, fits into Nussbaum's capability theory, since health as an ‘actuality’ is part of all the ‘combined capabilities’ suggested by Nussbaum
Keywords ability  health  Venkatapuram  capabilities  Nordenfelt  capabilties approach  subjective wellbeing
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/bioe.12223
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,290
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Health and Capabilities: A Conceptual Clarification.Per-Anders Tengland - 2020 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (1):25-33.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Why Health Matters to Justice: A Capability Theory Perspective.Lasse Nielsen - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (2):403-415.
A Two-Dimensional Theory of Health.Per-Anders Tengland - 2007 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28 (4):257-284.
A Qualified Defence of a Naturalist Theory of Health.Thomas Schramme - 2006 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 10 (1):11-17.
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.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-12-21

Total views
14 ( #735,088 of 2,518,816 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #271,822 of 2,518,816 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes