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  1. The concept of disease in the time of COVID-19.Maria Cristina Amoretti & Elisabetta Lalumera - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 41 (5):203-221.
    Philosophers of medicine have formulated different accounts of the concept of disease. Which concept of disease one assumes has implications for what conditions count as diseases and, by extension, who may be regarded as having a disease and for who may be accorded the social privileges and personal responsibilities associated with being sick. In this article, we consider an ideal diagnostic test for coronavirus disease 2019 infection with respect to four groups of people—positive and asymptomatic; positive and symptomatic; negative; and (...)
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  • Normality in Medicine: A Critical Review.Marisa Catita, Artur Águas & Pedro Morgado - 2020 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 15 (1):1-6.
    What is considered normal determines clinical practice in medicine and has implications at an individual level, doctor-patient relationship and health care policies. With the increase in medical information and technical abilities it is urgent to have a clear concept of normality in medicine so that crucial discussions can be held with unequivocal terms.The different meanings for normality were analyzed throughout the literature and grouped according to their relevance in the academic community in models, namely the Biostatistical Theory, Health, Ideal, Process (...)
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  • Harm and the Concept of Medical Disorder.Neil Feit - 2017 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (5):367-385.
    According to Jerome Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction analysis of medical disorder, the inability of some internal part or mechanism to perform its natural function is necessary, but not sufficient, for disorder. HDA also requires that the part dysfunction be harmful to the individual. I consider several problems for HDA’s harm criterion in this article. Other accounts on which harm is necessary for disorder will suffer from all or almost all of these problems. Comparative accounts of harm imply that one is harmed (...)
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  • The Harmful-Dysfunction Account of Disorder, Individual Versus Social Values, and the Interpersonal Variability of Harm Challenge.Antoine C. Dussault - 2021 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 24 (3):453-467.
    This paper presents the interpersonal variability of harm challenge to Jerome Wakefield’s harmful-dysfunction account (HDA) of disorder. This challenge stems from the seeming fact that what promotes well-being or is harmful to someone varies much more across individuals than what is intuitively healthy or disordered. This makes it at least prima facie difficult to see how judgments about health and disorder could, as harm-requiring accounts of disorder like the HDA maintain, be based on, or closely linked to, judgments about well-being (...)
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  • Progress in Defining Disease: Improved Approaches and Increased Impact.Peter H. Schwartz - 2017 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 42 (4):485-502.
    In a series of recent papers, I have made three arguments about how to define “disease” and evaluate and apply possible definitions. First, I have argued that definitions should not be seen as traditional conceptual analyses, but instead as proposals about how to define and use the term “disease” in the future. Second, I have pointed out and attempted to address a challenge for dysfunction-requiring accounts of disease that I call the “line-drawing” problem: distinguishing between low-normal functioning and dysfunctioning. Finally, (...)
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  • A Critical Overview of Biological Functions.Justin Garson - 2016 - Dordrecht: Springer.
    This book is a critical survey of and guidebook to the literature on biological functions. It ties in with current debates and developments, and at the same time, it looks back on the state of discourse in naturalized teleology prior to the 1970s. It also presents three significant new proposals. First, it describes the generalized selected effects theory, which is one version of the selected effects theory, maintaining that the function of a trait consists in the activity that led to (...)
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  • Précising Definitions as a Way to Combat Overdiagnosis.Wendy A. Rogers & Mary J. Walker - 2018 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 24 (5):1019-1025.
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  • Epistemic Authority, Philosophical Explication, and the Bio-Statistical Theory of Disease.Somogy Varga - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (4):937-956.
    Christopher Boorse’s Health care ethics: an introduction, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, pp 359–393, 1987; in Humber, Almeder, Totowa What is disease?, Humana Press, New York City, pp 1–134, 1997; J Med Philos, 39:683–724, 2014) Bio-Statistical Theory comprehends diseases in terms of departures from natural norms, which involve an objectively describable deviation from the proper physiological or psychological functioning of parts of the human organism. I argue that while recent revisions and additional considerations shield the BST from a number of issues (...)
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  • Philosophical Investigations of Socioeconomic Health Inequalities.Beatrijs Haverkamp - unknown
    The strong correlation between people’s socioeconomic position and health within high income countries is a well-documented fact. A person’s occupation, income and education level tell us a lot about that person’s prospects on a long and healthy life, such that we can speak of a ‘social gradient in health’, or a ‘socioeconomic health gap’. This association is often perceived to be unjust. Therefore, it is generally thought that governments should aim to reduce socioeconomic health inequalities. However, this idea needs ethical (...)
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  • Diseases Are Not Adaptations and Neither Are Their Causes: A Response to Ardern’s "Dysfunction, Disease, and the Limits of Selection".Paul E. Griffiths & John Matthewson - 2020 - Biological Theory 15 (3):136-142.
    In a recent article in this journal, Zachary Ardern criticizes our view that the most promising candidate for a naturalized criterion of disease is the "selected effects" account of biological function and dysfunction. Here we reply to Ardern’s criticisms and, more generally, clarify the relationship between adaptation and dysfunction in the evolution of health and disease.
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  • Galen's Wounds: Dissolutions and the Theoretical Structure of Galen's Disease Taxonomy.Luis Alejandro Salas - 2019 - Classical Antiquity 38 (2):275-297.
    Galen conceives of wounds, fractures, and similar conditions as belonging to one of the highest genera in his taxonomy of disease. This classification is puzzling, as much from an ancient Greco-Roman perspective as from a contemporary one. In what sense are wounds and other injuries diseases? The classification appears more perplexing in light of Galen's method of conceptual analysis, which takes ordinary language use as a starting point. What, then, motivated Galen's departure from common Greek conceptions of disease? This article (...)
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  • Evolution, Dysfunction, and Disease: A Reappraisal: Table 1.Paul E. Griffiths & John Matthewson - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):301-327.
    Some ‘naturalist’ accounts of disease employ a biostatistical account of dysfunction, whilst others use a ‘selected effect’ account. Several recent authors have argued that the biostatistical account offers the best hope for a naturalist account of disease. We show that the selected effect account survives the criticisms levelled by these authors relatively unscathed, and has significant advantages over the BST. Moreover, unlike the BST, it has a strong theoretical rationale and can provide substantive reasons to decide difficult cases. This is (...)
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  • The Function of the Heart is Not Obvious.Nicholas Binney - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 68:56-69.
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  • Boorse’s Theory of Disease: (Why) Do Values Matter?Brent M. Kious - 2018 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (4):421-438.
    There has been much debate about whether the concept of disease articulated in Boorse’s biostatistical theory is value-neutral or value-laden. Here, I want to examine whether this debate matters. I suggest that there are two basic respects in which value-ladenness might be important: it could threaten either scientific legitimacy or moral permissibility. I argue that value-ladenness does not threaten the scientific legitimacy of our disease-concept because the concept makes little difference to the formulation and testing of scientific hypotheses. Likewise, even (...)
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  • Conceptual Clarity in Clinical Bioethical Analysis.J. Clint Parker - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (1):1-15.
    Conceptual clarity is essential when engaging in dialogue to avoid unnecessary disagreement and to promote mutual understanding. In this issue devoted to clinical bioethics, the authors exemplify the virtue of careful conceptual analysis as they explore complex clinical questions regarding the essential nature of medicine, the boundaries of killing and letting die, the meaning of irreversibility in definitions of death, the argument for a right to try experimental medications, the ethical borders in complex medical billing, and the definition and modeling (...)
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  • The Ends of Medicine and the Experience of Patients.D. Robert MacDougall - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (2):129-144.
    The ends of medicine are sometimes construed simply as promotion of health, treatment and prevention of disease, and alleviation of pain. Practitioners might agree that this simple formulation captures much of what medical practice is about. But while the ends of medicine may seem simple or even obvious, the essays in this issue demonstrate the wide variety of philosophical questions and issues associated with the ends of medicine. They raise questions about how to characterize terms like “health” and “disease”; whether (...)
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  • Medicine, Morality, and Mortality: The Challenges of Moral Diversity.Mark J. Cherry - 2015 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 40 (5):473-483.
    This issue of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy assesses the deep and abiding tensions that exist among the competing epistemic perspectives that bear on medicine and morality. Concepts of health and disease, as well as the theoretical framing of medical ethics and health care policy, intersect with an overlapping set of culturally situated communities, striving to understand and manipulate the world in ways that each finds explanatory, appropriate, or otherwise befitting. The articles explore the complexities of framing public health (...)
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  • Christopher Boorse and the Philosophy of Medicine.Thomas Schramme - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):565-571.
    In 2012, the symposium "Christopher Boorse and the Philosophy of Medicine" was held at the University of Hamburg. The initial ideas presented at this event, which celebrated Chris's contribution to the development of what is now a vibrant area of research, especially to the theory of disease, form the core of the papers published in this issue. Similarly to what Robert Nozick once said about John Rawls's work, it can be demanded that philosophers of medicine must now either work within (...)
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  • A New Approach to Defining Disease.Mary Jean Walker & Wendy A. Rogers - 2018 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (4):402-420.
    In this paper, we examine recent critiques of the debate about defining disease, which claim that its use of conceptual analysis embeds the problematic assumption that the concept is classically structured. These critiques suggest, instead, developing plural stipulative definitions. Although we substantially agree with these critiques, we resist their implication that no general definition of “disease” is possible. We offer an alternative, inductive argument that disease cannot be classically defined and that the best explanation for this is that the concept (...)
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  • Philosophical Analyses of Scientific Concepts: A Critical Appraisal.Daniel Mark Kraemer - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (9):e12513.
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  • The Emergence of a New Human Superorganism After Organ Transplantation.Prasad G. V. Ramesh - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Waterloo
    The biological human being is an emergent human superorganism consisting of the human organism physiologically integrated with other organisms. The persistence of a superorganism in space and time requires communication among its organisms. This communication occurs through immune processes at the biological boundaries of these organisms. Immune processes also repair disrupted boundaries, with this repair resulting in either health or disease processes depending on how the boundaries are restored. Health, disease, and biological personal identity all emerge from the mode of (...)
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