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A Defence of a Holistic Concept of Health
Ersta Sköndal University College.
2016 (English)In: Naturalism in the philosophy of health: issues and implications / [ed] Élodie Giroux, Springer Publishing Company, 2016, 209-225 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper I argue for the need of a positive, value-oriented, concept of health. I call it a holistic concept in that it involves looking upon health as having to do with the person as a whole. It is the person as a whole who is healthy or ill. Ill health is here taken to be the opposite of health. A distinctive feature of holistic health is that it is not identical with the absence of diseases or injuries. A concept of this general kind exists already in many areas in society. The most notable exponent of such a concept is the World Health Organization in its many characterizations of health and related concepts. But holistic analyses of health are advocated also by significant representatives of health care and public health and indeed by many theorists of medicine and nursing. A problem with many of these analyses, however, is that they are not carefully formulated and not presented within a strict conceptual theory. I will argue that my own proposal for a theory of health can do much of the work required. The paper has the following structure. First, I take a stand with regard to conceptual analysis and its role in determining the adequacy of definitions of health. Second, I make a brief survey of crucial characterizations of holistic health, both in policy documents and in the scholarly literature. In many of these conceptions the person’s abilities and subjective experiences come to the fore. Third, I consider the use of the term health in the standard medical encounter and in the formulation of goals of medicine. Fourth, I scrutinize some arguments concerning priorities in medicine, where a holistic concept of health plays a crucial role. Finally, I will give a brief outline of my own conceptual theory of holistic health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Publishing Company, 2016. 209-225 p.
Series
History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences, ISSN 2211-1948 ; 17
Keyword [en]
Philosophy of Medicine, Holistic theory of health, The WHO theory of health, The concept of health in the clinic, Goals of medicine, Prioritization in health care, Conceptual analysis
National Category
Philosophy Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-5459DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-29091-1_12Libris ID: 19731222ISBN: 978-3-319-29089-8 (print)ISBN: 978-3-319-29091-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:esh-5459DiVA: diva2:1033556
Available from: 2016-10-07 Created: 2016-10-07 Last updated: 2016-10-07Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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