What is Human Health? Towards Understanding its Personalist Dimensions

  • Josef Seifert
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 72)


Health is, in the final analysis, something ultimate, in the sense of being an irreducible datum which is only found in living things, and must be understood in its own ultimately undefinable terms. This is a fortiori true of that quite unique phenomenon within the more general datum of health which we can call “the health of a person.” “Personal health” is an entirely new datum which cannot even be reduced to what we call “health” in plants and animals. Using an expression in Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit (1927, § 7), a primary phenomenon can never be defined through other elements but can only “show itself from itself.” This is true even though health, and specifically the health of persons, is not as ultimate a datum as life or personhood, but depends on them, as well as on some pre-biological elements. The latter explains the partial applicability of the “biomedical model” to health and the practical fruitfulness of various forms of reductionism. Such reductionist theories take note of isolated moments of health which are truly elements of it, though any reduction of health to them is untenable.


Mental Health Personal Health Human Person Human Form Human Consciousness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josef Seifert
    • 1
  1. 1.International Academy of PhilosophyPrincipality of Liechtenstein

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