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A hermeneutical concept of health

This is a reflection on the concept of health. The central thesis of the essay is that the assumption of health and disease as opposite polar situations of a same nature of phenomenon, identified by means of a same rationality, is as limiting to an appropriate understanding of these two discursive constructions as it would be the ignorance of their close relationships in daily life. Based on Hans-Georg Gadamer's Philosophical Hermeneutics and Jürgen Habermas' Theory of Communicative Action, we seek to demonstrate that the concepts of health and disease are referred respectively to practical and instrumental interests in the rational elaboration of lived experiences of the processes of heath-disease-care. We sustain that the darkening of these distinctions is due to the "colonization of our lives experience" by the conceptual structures of the biomedical sciences. We stress the need to oppose to this trend a reconstructive movement, the so called humanization of health practices, by becoming all of us, professionals, services, programs and health policies, more sensitive, critical and responsive to the practical successes always aimed by means and beyond any technical efficacy in health care.

Health concept; health care; philosophy; hermeneutics

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