Originally published in 1987, this book is about the classification of bodily conditions into diseases. It provides a full account of the concept of disease, examining the issue of whether disease status is something we discover or invent and the issue of whether disease attributions involve implicit value judgements. It investigates whether bodily conditions fall into natural kinds and whether these debates can be settled by discovering whether there are any natural boundaries dividing conditions into diseases and non-diseases. It considers whether the notion of disease is an evaluative notion or whether judgements about disease status are purely descriptive. The issue of whether other cultures with different values are justified in making different disease judgements is also discussed.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Medicine and the Need for Philosophy 1. Invention or Discovery? 2. Taxonomic Realism: Natural Kinds 3. Taxonomic Realism 2: Semantics 4. The Nature of Disease 5. The Normal and the Pathological 6. The Concept of Function 7. The Naturalist Theory 8. The Concept of Harm 9. The Normativist Theory 10. Disease Entities as Natural Kinds 11. The Semantics of Disease Terms Conclusion: When is a Disease Not a Disease?
‘The reader will find here the most comprehensive treatment of the concept of disease. Any philosopher or physician interested in the conceptual underpinnings of medicine will be rewarded by a close reading of Reznek’s stimulating and provocative treatise.’ Edmund Pellegrino, Georgetown University Medical Center, USA.