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October 2021

Scand J Soc Med. 1997 Jun; 25(2): 67-9.

Weak and strong holism.

Tšljedal IB.

Department of Histology and Cell Biology, Umeå University, Sweden.

Dissatisfaction with the health care system, in combination with an increasing academic status of paramedical professions, is currently inspiring the analysis of central medical terms by philosophers. One interesting result is the formulation of equilibrium theories that define health without reference to disease. It is argued here that the alleged holism of such theories is in fact weaker than the strong holism represented by the irreductive materialism inherent in traditional medicine. Strong holism resolves certain anomalies in the weakly holistic description of the Human Being, notably the claim that perfect health is compatible with having a deadly disease.

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