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  1. A Dispositional Theory of Health.Sander Werkhoven - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (4):927-952.
    A satisfactory account of the nature of health is important for a wide range of theoretical and practical reasons. No theory offered in the literature thus far has been able to meet all the desiderata for an adequate theory of health. This article introduces a new theory of health, according to which health is best defined in terms of dispositions at the level of the organism as a whole. After outlining the main features of the account and providing formal definitions (...)
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  • Health as a Clinic-Epidemiological Concept.Marco Antonio Azevedo - 2015 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 21 (3):365-373.
    I propose a clinic-epidemiological concept of health as the best description of what physicians actually think about health within medical practice. Its aim is to be an alternative to the best approach in the philosophy of medicine about health, Christopher Boorse’s biostatistical theory. Contrary to Boorse’s ‘theoretical’ approach, I propose to take health as a practical clinical concept. In the first two parts of the paper, I will present my complaints against Boorse’s view that health is a theoretical concept, a (...)
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  • 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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  • Can Aging Research Generate a Theory of Health?Jonathan Sholl - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (2):1-26.
    While aging research and policy aim to promote ‘health’ at all ages, there remains no convincing explanation of what this ‘health’ is. In this paper, I investigate whether we can find, implicit within the sciences of aging, a way to know what health is and how to measure it, i.e. a theory of health. To answer this, I start from scientific descriptions of aging and its modulators and then try to develop some generalizations about ‘health’ implicit within this research. After (...)
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  • Malfunctions and Teleology: On the Chances of Statistical Accounts of Functions.Lorenzo Casini - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (2):319-335.
    The core idea of statistical accounts of biological functions is that to function normally is to provide a statistically typical contribution to some goal state of the organism. In this way, statistical accounts purport to naturalize the teleological notion of function in terms of statistical facts. Boorse’s, 542–573, 1977) original biostatistical account was criticized for failing to distinguish functions from malfunctions. Recently, many have attempted to circumvent the criticism, 519–541, 2012, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 39, 634–647, 2014). Here, I (...)
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  • Situation-Specific Disease and Dispositional Function: Table 1.Elselijn Kingma - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (2):391-404.
    In, I argued that Boorse's biostatistical theory of health is unable to accommodate diseases that are the normal result of harmful environments. Hausman disagrees: if the BST compares normal dispositional function against the whole population or reference class, rather than against organisms in similar circumstances as I proposed, then my challenge can be avoided. In this paper, I argue that Hausman's response fails: his proposal cannot accommodate a series of common physiological processes, such as sleep and those involved in reproduction. (...)
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  • 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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  • A Second Rebuttal On Health.Christopher Boorse - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):683-724.
    This essay replies to critics since 1995 of my “biostatistical theory” of health. According to the BST, a pathological condition is a state of statistically species-subnormal biological part-functional ability, relative to sex and age. Theoretical health, the total absence of pathological conditions, is then a value-free scientific notion. Recent critics offer a mixture of old and new objections to this analysis. Some new ones relate to choice of reference class, situation-specificity of function, common diseases and healthy populations, improvements in population (...)
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  • “Disease Entity” as the Key Theoretical Concept of Medicine.Peter Hucklenbroich - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):609-633.
    Philosophical debates about the concept of disease, particularly of mental disease, might benefit from reconsideration and a closer look at the established terminology and conceptual structure of contemporary medical pathology and clinical nosology. The concepts and principles of medicine differ, to a considerable extent, from the ideas and notions of philosophical theories of disease. In medical theory, the concepts of disease entity and pathologicity are, besides the concept of disease itself, of fundamental importance, and they are essentially connected to the (...)
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  • Health and Functional Efficiency.Daniel M. Hausman - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):634-647.
    This essay argues that what is central to Christopher Boorse’s biostatistical theory of disease as statistically subnormal part function (BST) are comparisons of the “functional efficiency” of parts and processes and that statistical considerations serve only to pick out a healthy level of functional efficiency. On this interpretation, the distinction between health and pathology is less important than comparisons of functional efficiency, which are entirely independent of statistical considerations. The clarifications or revisions of the BST that this essay offers are (...)
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  • Naturalism About Health and Disease: Adding Nuance for Progress.Elselijn Kingma - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):590-608.
    The literature on health and diseases is usually presented as an opposition between naturalism and normativism. This article argues that such a picture is too simplistic: there is not one opposition between naturalism and normativism, but many. I distinguish four different domains where naturalist and normativist claims can be contrasted: (1) ordinary usage, (2) conceptually clean versions of “health” and “disease,” (3) the operationalization of dysfunction, and (4) the justification for that operationalization. In the process I present new arguments in (...)
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  • Biological Pathology From an Organizational Perspective.Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno - 2015 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 36 (1):83-95.
    In contrast to the “normativist” view, “naturalist” theorists claim that the concept of health refers to natural or normal states and propose different characterizations of healthy and diseased conditions that are meant to be objectivist and biologically grounded. In this article, we examine the core concept of these naturalist accounts of disease, i.e., the concept of biological malfunction, and develop a new formulation of the notion of malfunction following the recent organizational approach to functions in the philosophy of biology. We (...)
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  • Epidemiology and the Bio-Statistical Theory of Disease: A Challenging Perspective.Élodie Giroux - 2015 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 36 (3):175-195.
    Christopher Boorse’s bio-statistical theory of health and disease argues that the central discipline on which theoretical medicine relies is physiology. His theory has been much discussed but little has been said about its focus on physiology or, conversely, about the role that other biomedical disciplines may play in establishing a theoretical concept of health. Since at least the 1950s, epidemiology has gained in strength and legitimacy as an independent medical science that contributes to our knowledge of health and disease. Indeed, (...)
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