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Conceptualizing Health and Illness

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This article is focused on the notions of health and illness, as they appear in the context of philosophical reflections on finitude and contingency of human existence. Criticizing Heidegger's approach to health and illness which is based on the Aristotelian concept of privation, the author tries to find an alternative to the privative concept of illness with the help of Schelling's treatise on human freedom which explicates Evil not as a privation of Good, but as a sort of illness that has its own phenomenal positivity. Even Schelling's philosophical investigation of the nature of Evil, however, doesn't seem to provide a solid ground for a non-privative and non-normative approach to pathological phenomena. Only when Schelling's treatise on human freedom is de-contextualized and radicalized in a way suggested, for instance, by Deleuze in his Difference and Repetition, does it seem possible to elucidate pathological, and especially psychopathological phenomena, as they show themselves from themselves, and not from the perspective given by the normative ideal of health.

Affiliations: 1: Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic


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