Disease and Diagnosis, a Philosophical Analysis

  • P. J. Thung


By first approximation, the relation between disease and diagnosis looks like that between a botanical or zoological species and the process leading to its identification. The comparison is of course tenable as long as diseases are viewed as distinct entities, comparable to biological species, having an identity of their own which is reproduced and can be recognized in each individual case. This view comes natural to physicians and has been influential in medical theory since at least the work of Th. Sydenham (1624–1689). It first came to full expression in the 18th century taxonomies of disease (e.g. Sauvage, or Pinel).


Hepatitis Europe Endocarditis Myocarditis Myopia 
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    M. Foucault, “Naissance de la Clinique: une Archéologie du Regard Médical, Presses Universitaires de France (1973).Google Scholar
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    Th. McKeown, “The Role of Medicine”, Blackwell (1979).Google Scholar
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    H.C. Trowel and D.P. Burkitt, “Western Diseases, their Emergence and Prevention”, Arnold (1981).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. J. Thung
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. MetamedicaUniversity of LeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Dept. Health Ethics and PhilosophyUniversity of MaastrichtThe Netherlands

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