Why Wakefield 's Harmful Dysfunction Theory Essay

Why Wakefield 's Harmful Dysfunction Theory Essay

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Health and disease do not have a straightforward definition. It has been altered by many people in many points of history. For example, Boorse, Nordenfelt, and Wakefield are all philosophers that have defined what it means to be healthy. I am going to explain why Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction theory is the most plausible. First, I will briefly explain each theory. Next, I will determine whether Amanda Baggs would be considered healthy according to their definitions. After I examine Amanda Baggs, I will defend Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction theory and why it is the most plausible. Lastly, I will consider an objection to Wakefield’s theory as well as a reply to the objection.
Boorse’s biostatisical theory is “a disease entity is concisely defined in the following way: it is the state of an individual which interferes with or even prevents the normal function of some organ or system of organs belonging to the bearer of the state” (Nordenfelt 1986: 281). The main point of this is that a person must not have any diseases and all of their parts are performing normally. They also must be working with typical efficiency. He looks at the biological, physical evidence for finding diseases and something that would be considered unhealthy. Boorse also believed that having at least one disease and having at least part failing to perform as normal or below statistical norms. Lastly, his definition of being diseased is very similar, he stated it was having at least one part that is working below statistical norms.
Nordenfelt had a different view on what it meant to be healthy. Nordenfelt’s equilibrium theory says that health is being able to achieve one’s goals, so it is simply evaluative and not factual. A person with any di...


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... While Boorse simply examined the factual, Nordenfelt looked at the evaluative side of health. Wakefield looked at both of those aspects to determine if a person is healthy or not. By those definitions, Boorse and Wakefield would think that Amanda Baggs is not healthy, and Nordenfelt would think that she is healthy. Wakefield’s perspective is the most plausible due to the fact that he examines both the factual and the evaluative in a systematic manner. Although one could object that the method is potentially flawed, I reply that if you perform it in the correct way there would not be a problem with the method. Although health and disease is not straightforward and has many definitions and controversies surrounding it, Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction theory is the most plausible when compared with Boorse’s biostatistical theory and Nordenfelt’s equilibrium theory.

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