Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 541216
Title A Practice-Oriented Review of Health Concepts
Author(s) Haverkamp, Beatrijs; Bovenkerk, Bernice; Verweij, Marcel F.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/jmp/jhy011
Department(s) Philosophy
WASS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) health concepts - health practices
Abstract

Whereas theories on health generally argue in favor of one specific concept, we argue that, given the variety of health practices, we need different concepts of health. We thus approach health concepts as a Wittgensteinian family of thick concepts. By discussing five concepts of health offered by (philosophical) theory, we argue that all capture something that seems relevant when we talk and think about health. Classifying these concepts reveals their family resemblances: each of these concepts differs from the others in at least one respect and resembles the others in several respects. Moreover, our classification shows that "health" always both describes a condition and evaluates that condition at the same time. Having both descriptive and evaluative dimensions, we can see health concepts as "thick concepts." It is because of this evaluative dimension that it is important to reflect on the question of what understanding of health guides specific practices. We show that the distinctions revealed by our classification can serve as a conceptual toolbox for reflection on the assumptions and purposes of particular health practices. Finally, we illustrate how such reflection could work out by briefly exploring three specific health practices.

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