Health Care Analysis

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 15–23

On the Goals of Medicine, Health Enhancement and Social Welfare

  • Lennart Nordenfelt

DOI: 10.1023/A:1011350927112

Cite this article as:
Nordenfelt, L. Health Care Analysis (2001) 9: 15. doi:10.1023/A:1011350927112


Bengt Brülde in his article ``The Goals of Medicine. Towards a Unified Theory'' has proposed a normative theory of the goals of medicine within which the concept of quality of life plays a crucial role. In Brülde's analysis, however, the very concept of medicine is deliberately left quite vague and it is therefore difficult to see how the goals of medicine are related to the goals of closely allied enterprises such as health promotion and social welfare. In this reply I therefore propose an analysis of these related conceptual areas. I do this mainly in two respects. (1) Following the nomenclature in a previously published article (Nordenfelt, 1998) I propose a systematic conceptual framework for all varieties of health enhancement and distinguish different notions of medicine within this framework. A consequence of this analysis is, for instance, that the means and also the immediate goals of medicine in its broadest sense are more diversified than the means and immediate goals of medicine in its narrowest sense. (2) From this position I expand the topic further by comparing medicine and health enhancement with social welfare and try to trace the basic features between – as well as the common properties of – these different enterprises.

goals health health enhancement medicine social welfare 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lennart Nordenfelt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health and SocietyUniversity of LinköpingLinköpingSweden

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