Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

Spreading Disease: A Controversy Concerning the Metaphysics of Disease

Robert D'Amico
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Vol. 20, No. 2 (1998), pp. 143-162
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23332099
Page Count: 20
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Spreading Disease: A Controversy Concerning the Metaphysics of Disease
Preview not available

Abstract

This article concerns the metaphysics of disease. Is disease a fixed feature of the world or a social value or preference? I argue that disease is not a value-laden concept and thus debates concerning it differ fundamentally from debates concerning health, harm, or suffering where evaluative judgements are central. I show how the so-called social constructionist view of disease has been motivated both by ethical concerns with medical practices and general theoretical doubts about scientific naturalism. If I can show that ethical concerns about medical treatment can be answered without adopting social constructionism, that leaves only the broader theoretical question of naturalism. I cannot completely answer those theoretical doubts, but I show that the theoretical motivation is less convincing when it is separated from the moral challenge often accompanying it. I conclude that a convincing defense of the non-naturalistic conception of disease is rarely attempted and proves more difficult and counter-intuitive than its proponents assume.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[143]
    [143]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
144
    144
  • Thumbnail: Page 
145
    145
  • Thumbnail: Page 
146
    146
  • Thumbnail: Page 
147
    147
  • Thumbnail: Page 
148
    148
  • Thumbnail: Page 
149
    149
  • Thumbnail: Page 
150
    150
  • Thumbnail: Page 
151
    151
  • Thumbnail: Page 
152
    152
  • Thumbnail: Page 
153
    153
  • Thumbnail: Page 
154
    154
  • Thumbnail: Page 
155
    155
  • Thumbnail: Page 
156
    156
  • Thumbnail: Page 
157
    157
  • Thumbnail: Page 
158
    158
  • Thumbnail: Page 
159
    159
  • Thumbnail: Page 
160
    160
  • Thumbnail: Page 
161
    161
  • Thumbnail: Page 
162
    162