Discussion Note

Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 603-611

First online:

Understanding pathology in the context of physiological mechanisms: the practicality of a broken-normal view

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The topic of disease mechanisms is of clinical importance, as our understanding of such mechanisms plays an important role in how we approach devising treatments for disease. In this paper, I critique an argument made by Mauro Nervi, in which he asserts that pathology is often better viewed in the context of distinct theoretical mechanisms. I use this critique as a starting point to argue that viewing pathology as a broken-normal, malfunctioning mechanism is more therapeutically practical and more relevant to clinical drug design, than creating a theoretical separation of pathology from physiology.


Mechanism Disease Philosophy of medicine Malfunction