Aging as Disease
- 479 Downloads
In this paper, I will argue that ageing can be construed as disease. First, the concept of disease is discussed, where the distinction is made between two lines of thought, an objectivist and a subjectivist one. After determining the disease conception to be used throughout the argument, it is proposed that senescence could be seen as disease. Three common counterarguments are discussed, none of which appears strong enough to effectively counter the advocated view. In the third section, two potential implications of the view advocated here will be briefly touched upon. These are the quest for a cure or treatment for ageing and the general attitude towards the elderly. It is concluded that, utilizing an objective disease concept, ageing could be seen as a disease. None of the considered counterarguments packs enough of a punch to discard this. The implications are complex and intertwined, but need not be negative.
KeywordsAgeing Disease Concept Biology Implication
Many thanks to Dr. Jonathan Grose, whose constructive comments were a great help in improving earlier drafts of this paper.
- Boorse, C. 1997. A rebuttal on health. In What is Disease?, ed. J.M. Humber, and R.F. Almeder, 3–134. Totowa, New Jersey: Humana Press.Google Scholar
- Bowling, A. 2007. Honour your father and mother: ageism and medicine. British Journal of General Practice 57(538): 347–348.Google Scholar
- Caplan, A.L. 2004. The “Unnaturalness” of Ageing—Give Me Reason to Live! In Health, disease and illness: Concepts in medicine, ed. A.L. Caplan, J.J. McCartney, and D.A. Sisti, 117–127. Washington: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
- Daniels, N. 1985. Just health care. Studies in philosophy and health policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Izaks, G.J. & Westendorp, R.G.J. (2003). Ill or just old? Towards a conceptual framework of the relation between ageing and disease. BMC Geriatrics. 3(7), doi: 10.1186/1471-2318-3-7.
- Jin, K. 2010. Modern biological theories of ageing. Ageing Disease 1(2): 72–74.Google Scholar
- Nieuwenhuis-Mark, R.E. 2011. Healthy ageing as disease? Frontiers in Ageing Neuroscience 3(3): 1.Google Scholar