The Nature of Disease

  • Mary Ann G. Cutter
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 81)


This chapter explores the metaphysics of disease, with emphasis on the ways in which concepts of disease reflect what we know in medicine. It considers traditional discussions in the philosophy and history of medicine about the nature of disease, with particular attention to its structure and development. It argues that competing accounts of the nature of disease offer limited yet complementary ways to understand the metaphysical character of disease, thereby resulting in what is called a limited realist approach. As Khushf (1995, p. 465) rightly notes, coming to terms with the tensions between and among diverse ways of conceptualizing disease is perhaps one of medicine’s important goals as it moves into the Third Millennium, a time that promises great strides in our understanding and control of disease1.


Sickle Cell Anemia Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Natural Kind Health Care Practitioner Childbed Fever 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Ann G. Cutter
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ColoradoColorado SpringsUSA

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