Concepts and Causes in the Philosophy of Disease by Benjamin Smart (auth.)

By Benjamin Smart (auth.)

This ebook examines a couple of vital debates within the philosophy of drugs, together with 'what is disease?', and the jobs and viability of options of causation, in medical medication and epidemiology.

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Extra info for Concepts and Causes in the Philosophy of Disease

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The Concept of Disease in Clinical Medicine  Schwartz’s argument is compelling, since there are many disorders for which Wakefield’s proposed response fails. However, Schwartz’s response to Wakefield does not rule out an etiological approach tout court. As we have seen, the etiological account of natural function identifies the natural function of a trait as the evolutionary explanation for that trait’s existence. Identifying the natural function, then, is not problematic for the etiological theorist.

The FNC is promising, Kingma, however, questions the naturalism of the negative consequences factor, pointing out that ‘sometimes, where the situation demands it, “the ability to carry out a standard activity” needs to be suppressed or impaired’ (2014, 596)14 – one cannot breathe and swallow at the same time, but this is not pathological. A value judgement needs to be made, then, to determine which abilities can be suppressed without affecting health status. The FNC may or may not be a purely naturalist view, but either way, it does seem to deal with the Cambridge change objection that the BST looks to struggle with.

E. make value judgements about what conditions are undesirable or need treatment. But, so clarified, the argument has two fatal defects. First, it is circular, since it assumes its conclusion, that ‘health’ is value-laden. Second, it ignores one of the most basic features of medical usage of ‘disease’: that disease and medically treatable condition do not coincide. (2014, 693) Boorse must surely be right. Consider the case of the vasectomy. One may argue over whether being infertile is always a state of disease (whether naturally occurring or self-inflicted), but surely one would never consider being fertile a disease!

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