Classification, Disease and Evidence

New Essays in the Philosophy of Medicine

  • Philippe Huneman
  • Gérard Lambert
  • Marc Silberstein

Part of the History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences book series (HPTL, volume 7)

About this book


This anthology of essays presents a sample of studies from recent philosophy of medicine addressing issues which attempt to answer very general (interdependent) questions: (a) what is a disease and what is health? (b) How do we (causally) explain diseases? (c) And how do we distinguish diseases, i.e. define classes of diseases and recognize that an instance X of disease belongs to a given class B? (d) How do we assess and choose cure/ therapy?


The book is divided into three sections:  classification, disease, and evidence. In general, attention is focused on statistics in medicine and epidemiology, issues in psychiatry, and connecting medicine with evolutionary biology and genetics. Many authors position the theories that they address within their historical contexts.


The nature of health and disease will be addressed in several essays that also touch upon very general questions about the definition of medicine and its status.  Several chapters scrutinize classification because of its centrality within philosophical problems raised by medicine and its core position in the philosophical questioning of psychiatry. Specificities of medical explanation have recently come under a new light, particularly because of the rise of statistical methods, and several chapters investigate these methods in specific contexts such as epidemiology or meta-analysis of random testing. Taken together this collection addresses the question of how we gather, use and assess evidence for various medical theories.


The rich assortment of disciplines featured also includes epidemiology, parasitology, and public health, while technical aspects such as the application of game theory to medical research and the misuse of the DSM in forensic psychiatry are also given an airing. The book addresses more than the construction of medical knowledge, however, adding cogent appraisal of the processes of decision making in medicine and the protocols used to justify therapeutic choices.


Concept of disease DSM philosophy Definition genetic disease Diagnostic reasoning Disease philosophy Dualist epistemology of medicine Epistemology of mental illness Evidence based medicine Function in psychiatric debate Genetic disease philosophy Misuse of DSM Parasitology philosophy Philosophy Medicine Quality assessment tools for evidence in medicine Risk factor in epidemiology

Editors and affiliations

  • Philippe Huneman
    • 1
  • Gérard Lambert
    • 2
  • Marc Silberstein
    • 3
  1. 1.IHPSTCNRS/Université Paris I/ENSParisFrance
  2. 2.Centre CavaillèsEcole Normale SupérieureParisFrance
  3. 3.Éditions MatériologiquesParisFrance

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
  • Print ISBN 978-94-017-8886-1
  • Online ISBN 978-94-017-8887-8
  • Series Print ISSN 2211-1948
  • Series Online ISSN 2211-1956
  • Buy this book on publisher's site