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Evolution, Dysfunction, and Disease: A Reappraisal

Evolution, Dysfunction, and Disease: A Reappraisal Some ‘naturalist’ accounts of disease employ a biostatistical account of dysfunction, whilst others use a ‘selected effect’ account. Several recent authors have argued that the biostatistical account offers the best hope for a naturalist account of disease. We show that the selected effect account survives the criticisms levelled by these authors relatively unscathed, and has significant advantages over the BST. Moreover, unlike the BST, it has a strong theoretical rationale and can provide substantive reasons to decide difficult cases. This is illustrated by showing how life-history theory clarifies the status of so-called diseases of old age. The selected effect account of function deserves a more prominent place in the philosophy of medicine than it currently occupies.1 Introduction2 Biostatistical and Selected Effect Accounts of Function3 Objections to the Selected Effect Account  3.1 Boorse  3.2 Kingma  3.3 Hausman  3.4 Murphy and Woolfolk4 Problems for the Biostatistical Account  4.1 Schwartz5 Analysis versus Explication6 Explicating Dysfunction: Life History Theory and Senescence7 Conclusion http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Oxford University Press

Evolution, Dysfunction, and Disease: A Reappraisal

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com
ISSN
0007-0882
eISSN
1464-3537
DOI
10.1093/bjps/axw021
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Some ‘naturalist’ accounts of disease employ a biostatistical account of dysfunction, whilst others use a ‘selected effect’ account. Several recent authors have argued that the biostatistical account offers the best hope for a naturalist account of disease. We show that the selected effect account survives the criticisms levelled by these authors relatively unscathed, and has significant advantages over the BST. Moreover, unlike the BST, it has a strong theoretical rationale and can provide substantive reasons to decide difficult cases. This is illustrated by showing how life-history theory clarifies the status of so-called diseases of old age. The selected effect account of function deserves a more prominent place in the philosophy of medicine than it currently occupies.1 Introduction2 Biostatistical and Selected Effect Accounts of Function3 Objections to the Selected Effect Account  3.1 Boorse  3.2 Kingma  3.3 Hausman  3.4 Murphy and Woolfolk4 Problems for the Biostatistical Account  4.1 Schwartz5 Analysis versus Explication6 Explicating Dysfunction: Life History Theory and Senescence7 Conclusion

Journal

The British Journal for the Philosophy of ScienceOxford University Press

Published: Jun 1, 2018

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