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AuthorNordenfelt, Lennart. author
TitleOn the Nature of Health [electronic resource] : An Action-Theoretic Approach / by Lennart Nordenfelt
ImprintDordrecht : Springer Netherlands : Imprint: Springer, 1995
Edition Second Revised and Enlarged Edition
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Descript XVII, 217 p. online resource


GENERAL INTRODUCTION This study of the concept of health is an attempt to combine central ideas in modern philosophy of medicine with certain results from analytical action theory. What emerges from the study is a concept 'of health based on an action-theoretic foundation. A person's health is characterized as his ability to achieve his vital goals. The general conception is not new. This study has been inspired by a number of scholars, both ancient and modern. The most important influences from the latter have been those of Georges Canguilhem, H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr. , Caroline Whitbeck and Ingmar Porn. The novel aspect of this book consists of elaborations made to the general conception. First, the action-theoretic platform is analysed in some detail. The nature of the ability involved, as well as the conditions for having that ability, are specified. Second, the vital goals of man are given considerable attention. Some previous attempts to define such vital goals are analysed and criticized. A new characterization is proposed, in which the vital goals are conceptually linked to the notion of happiness. A person's vital goals are such states of affairs as are necessary and together sufficient for his minimal happiness. Third, a number of consequences of this conยญ ception are observed and analysed. One issue which is particularly emphaยญ sized is that of whether the concept of health is a theoretical or a normative concept


1: Some Basic Issues in the Philosophy of Health -- 1. Why a Philosophy of Health? -- 2. What Should Be Required of an Acceptable Theory of Health? -- 3. Preliminaries on Conceptual Analysis -- 4. Two Perspectives on Health and Disease -- 2: An Analytic Theory of Health: the Biostatistical Theory (BST) -- 1. The Classical Background -- 2. On the Concept of a Goal -- 3. The Biostatistical Theory: A General Presentation -- 4. The Prima-Facie Merits of the Biostatistical Theory -- 5. A Critical Assessment of the Biostatistical Theory -- 3: Towards a Holistic Theory of Health -- 1. An Action-Theoretic Approach -- 2. On the General Concepts of Action and Ability -- 3. On Ability and Disability -- 4. On First- and Second-Order Ability -- 5. On the Concept of Vital Goals -- 6. Health as a Personโ{128}{153}s Ability to Fulfill His Basic Human Needs -- 7. Health as a Personโ{128}{153}s Ability to Attain the Goals Set by Himself -- 8. Towards a New Philosophy of Health: A Welfare Notion of Health -- 9. On Some Properties of the Welfare Notion of Health -- 4: On the Factors Which Compromise Health -- 1. Maladies -- 2. Other Factors Compromising Health: Old Age, Pregnancy, Grief -- 5: On Some Societal and Scientific Consequences of the Welfare Notion of Health -- 1. On the Relation Between Health and Society -- 2. On Some Consequences of the Welfare Notion of Health for Medicine and Health Care -- 6: Conclusions and Summary of the Welfare Theory of Health -- 1. Answers to the Requirements of a Good Theory of Health -- 2. Glossary -- Appendix: on the Ontology of Diseases -- 1. A Classical Debate โ{128}{148} Physiologism Versus Ontologism -- 2. The Problem of Historical Change -- 3. Towards a Reconstruction of Medical Ontology -- 4. Some Modern Definitions of Diseases -- 5. An Analysis of the Disease Concepts -- 6. Summary -- Notes -- Supplementary Bibliography -- Postscript 1994

Philosophy Medicine -- Philosophy Public health Medical ethics Philosophy Philosophy of Medicine Public Health Philosophy general Theory of Medicine/Bioethics


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