Lady Gaga Pens Essay On Being a Woman In the …
We have arrived at a generic naturalism that says judgments ofillness are sensitive to causal antecedents of the right sort, as wellas to value judgments about the effects of those causes. What are theright causal antecedents? Culver and Gert's (1982) requirement thatthe antecedents be a “nondistinct sustaining cause” is abiologically noncommittal criterion. Culver and Gert analyze theconcept of a malady, which involves suffering evils, or increased riskof evil, due to “a condition not sustained by somethingdistinct” from oneself (1982, 72). The cause can be physical ormental, (p.87), provided it is a sustaining cause that is not distinctfrom the sufferer (p.88). A wrestler's hammerlock, because its effectscome and go with the presence or absence of the cause itself, is anexample of a sustaining cause. But because the wrestler is a distinctentity from the sufferer, someone in a hammerlock does not have amalady. If the cause is inside the body it is nondistinct just in caseit is difficult to remove (e.g. a surgical implement left behind inthe body) or it is biologically integrated in the body (e.g. aretrovirus). This is an attractively simple solution but it is tooinclusive. Culver and Gert (p.71) say that loss of freedom,opportunity or pleasure count as evils. But if that is so, then blackcitizens of South Africa and Mississippi (among many other places)used to suffer from maladies, since they were unfree, unhappy andoppressed. And they suffered these evils because of black skin, whichwas a nondistinct sustaining aspect of their nature. But it wasn't adisease. Of course, the presence of racism, backed up by coercivesocial structures, was also necessary, but aspects of the environmentare implicated in many maladies.
Unhappy Meals - Michael Pollan - The New York Times
While dementia is found in all CALD communities, the ways that dementia is understood and dealt with are not the same in each community. Western culture has a fairly consistent understanding of dementia as a medical condition caused by several diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. There is also a recognition that both the person with dementia and their carers can benefit by acknowledging the condition and seeking support from a range of services.
Naturalism embodies the important insight that we do in fact thinkthat disease involves a causal process that includes biologicalabnormalities. It does not mean, however, that all diseases have toreceive the same biological explanation. The class of diseases willinclude a variety of different conditions that receive differentcausal explanations. That is, even if diseases are natural kinds, thesuperordinate category of disease may not be. Not just any sort ofstory about the causes of abnormal behavior will do, and it isdifficult to reach a satisfactory specification of the sorts of causesthat common sense might recognize. We also distinguish, based on ourcommon sense understanding of human biology, between pathological andnon-pathological versions of the same outward phenomena. Because agingis normal we acknowledge that an elderly person will differ from ayoung adult, so our assumptions about normality are sensitive tobackground conditions. But when aging is abnormal, we call it adisease. Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, for instance, causeschildren to undergo all the stages of human aging at a bizarrelyaccelerated rate. They nearly always die by seventeen, far gone insenescence. Even though we don't know much about it, we think ofHutchinson-Gilford as a disease not just because we don't like beingold but because we think it is different from getting old in a waythat must be caused by some underlying pathology. The concept ofdisease necessarily requires, just as naturalism insists, that acondition have a causal history involving abnormal biologicalsystems. So let's turn to naturalism, and see whether it should be aconservative or revisionist position.
A Few Notes on the Culture, by Iain M Banks
The normative and scientific components of the analysis are intension. The analysis of disease as depending on malfunctioningbiological components requires a functional decomposition of humanbiology. If that decomposition is to be independent of what we thinkpeople should be like, it should not be regulated by common sensetheories of human nature, but discovered by science. We must be ableto ascertain, within acceptable limits of variation, the biologicalstandards that nature has imposed on humans. The goal of finding outhow a biological system works is fixed by our interests in health andwell-being, but the naturalist's assumption is that the goal is met bydiscovering empirical facts about human biology, not our own,culturally defined, norms. So, we diagnose someone as suffering frommesenteric adenitis not just because they are in discomfort due tofever, abdominal pain and diarrhea, but because the lower rightquadrant of the mesenteric lymphatic system displays abnormalinflammation. This thickening of the nodes is not just the objectivecause of the discomfort, it is an objective failure of the lymphaticsystem to make its normal contribution to the overall system. For thenaturalist's program to work, the biological roles of human organs mustbe natural facts just as empirically discoverable as the atomicweights of chemical elements. That may result in the overturning ofcommon sense.