Many practical issues in medical ethics depend on an understanding of the concept of health. The main question is whether it is a purely descriptive or a partly evaluative or normative concept. After posing some puzzles about the concept, the views of C Boorse, who thinks it is descriptive, are discussed and difficulties are found for them. An evaluative treatment is then suggested, and used to shed light on some problems about mental illness and to compare and contrast it with physical illness and with political and other deviancies which are not illnesses.
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