REVIEW – April 2013

Theories of health and disease from the philosophical point of view

Authors: Hanna-Liisa Ennet

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In discussion about health we can look upon the notion of health from the perspective of socially situated individuals and from the perspective of human beings as biological organisms. A common understanding of health concepts helps make better decisions on the community level and a better understanding and awareness of the nature of health helps make better choices on an individual level. The present article addresses the structure of two important theories of health (C. Boorse and L. Nordenfelt) and hoped to set stage for ongoing communication on the aspects of health. The article also attempts to point out some arguments why a vivid and uniform understanding of the notions of health and illness is relevant not only to educated professionals and influential specialists in the field of medicine but also to common citizens as well as to high level decision makers such as politicians, businessmen, academics, and the like.