Theoretical Health and Medical Practice

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Krueger, James
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conference paper description
Discussions of the concept of disease have largely focused on whether a specific account successfully identifies necessary and sufficient conditions for a state to count as pathological. Correctly accounting for examples of pathology, however, is not the only basis for evaluating such accounts. Here, I argue that we should expect any understanding of health and disease to be consistent with important aspects of medical practice. Specifically, any such understanding should be consistent with the ways that we attempt to treat and cure. What we do when we treat must be intelligible in terms of reducing or eliminating pathology and promoting health. If not, it is hard to understand what it is that an account of health and disease provides for us. It runs the risk of become an empty abstraction of little relevance to an understanding of what medicine is or does. In making this case, I aim to show that the theoretical account of health offered by Christopher Boorse should be rejected because of its failings in this regard.