Building a Concept of Health -Focusing on the Debate between Christopher Boorse and Lennart Nordenfelt over Health-

  • Meekyong Lee


‘Health’ has been mainly defined as ‘absence of disease’, even though it implies that one’s life is in a good state when one’s physical and mental status is sound. However, in order to view health in more comprehensive perspectives, including the issues of distribution of sources or quality of life, then there have been debates between the narrow definition of health as ‘absence of disease’ and a broader definition of it as ‘the base of quality of life’ in the Western world. These debates are significant in medicine for the scope of health and treatment as well as healthcare policies. Moreover, with the reality that better quality of life is highly expected and the importance of policies to realize it is being empathized, it is necessary to understand health more elaborately. Accordingly, this article aims to suggest an exquisite understanding of health through debates over the core concept of health. Therefore, after reviewing the naturalistic concept of health as ‘absence of disease’ by American bioethics theorist Christopher Boorse, and the normativist concept of health affecting human life significantly by Swedish philosopher Lennart Nordefelt, a layered concept of health that synthesizes both theories will be possible.