Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Russell Powell and Eric Scarffe1 are pluralists about disease. They offer their thickly normative account to meet the needs of doctors, but they allow that a different concept of disease might work better for zoologists.
In this commentary, I grant that Powell and Scarffe’s thickly normative evaluation of biological dysfunction works well in many medicinal contexts. Powell and Scarffe respond effectively to eliminativists—we should retain the concept of disease. But the paper’s pluralism and focus on the specific needs of institutions should permit us to eliminate the notion of disease from domains for which the historical grounding of their selected effects account of function are contrary to therapeutic goals. One such domain is mental health. I found Powell and Scarffe’s rejection of Boorse’s dispositional account of biological function persuasive—the selected effects account of function is a superior fit for biologists’ use of the term. But the historical nature of this concept is, at best, a distraction from the task of morally evaluating the many ways in which …
Contributors This is all author’s own work.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Read the full text or download the PDF:
Other content recommended for you
- ‘Rethinking “Disease”: a fresh diagnosis and a new philosophical treatment’
- Can evidence-based medicine implicitly rely on current concepts of disease or does it have to develop its own definition?
- Chronic fatigue syndrome and an illness-focused approach to care: controversy, morality and paradox
- The technological invention of disease
- Stem cell research on other worlds, or why embryos do not have a right to life
- What is a disease? Perspectives of the public, health professionals and legislators
- One year follow up study of primary and transitional progressive multiple sclerosis
- Public, health professional and legislator perspectives on the concept of psychiatric disease: a population-based survey
- Spinal cord MRI in clinically isolated optic neuritis
- Sinning against nature: the theory of background conditions