Article ID: CBB420699073

Infinity, Technology, Degeneracy: A Note on Werkhoven’s Dispositional Theory of Health (2021)


Werkhoven’s ‘A Dispositional Theory of Health’ is an important and original contribution to debates about the disease concept, which persuasively demonstrates that dispositions must play some role in a full account of what it is to be healthy or ill. Unfortunately, as a theory, it cannot as it stands be correct.I first demonstrate what appears to be a significant, and possibly fatal, flaw; the proliferation of dispositions which Werkhoven’s theory requires makes impossible, at least in the absence of significant further metaphysical work, the comparative numerical judgements on which its account of health and illness are based. I then demonstrate two further problems, concerning the exclusion of ‘technological’ dispositions from those under consideration, and a large class of compensatory biological functions which Werkhoven’s theory seems to have overlooked.

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Authors & Contributors
Ereshefsky, Marc
Metzler, Irina
Mussell, James
Wolters, Christine
Marmodoro, Anna
Kouloumentas, Stavros
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Oxford University Press
Franz Steiner Verlag
Cambridge University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of California, Irvine
Éditions Hermann
Philosophy of medicine
Disease and diseases
Medicine and culture
Human body
Public health
Alcmaeon of Crotona
Hippocrates of Cos
Canguilhem, Georges
Time Periods
19th century
21st century
20th century, early
18th century

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