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Aristotelian accounts of disease: what are they good for?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2007
<mark>Journal</mark>Philosophical Papers
Issue number3
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)427-442
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In this paper I will argue that Aristotelian accounts of disease cannot provide us with an adequate descriptive account of our concept of disease. In other words, they fail to classify conditions as either diseases, or non-diseases, in a way that is consistent with commonplace intuitions. This being said, Aristotelian accounts of disease are not worthless. Aristotelian approaches cannot offer a decent descriptive account of our concept of disease, but they do offer resources for improving on the ways in which we think about the harms that afflict human beings. While they cannot offer an account of ‘disease’ they can offer an account of ‘harm’-and this it turns out, is ultimately of greater importance.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Philosophical Papers, 36 (3), 2007, © Informa Plc