Why is health difficult to define?

Why is health difficult to define? Discuss, drawing on different models of health.

Health is perhaps one of the most difficult words to define. Even after many years of discussion, philosophers,politicians, medics, and various literary critics have all struggled to set a perfect definition for it. Originating from the old English word for heal: "hael" and the even older Greek word forhealth: "hygeia" , the definition of the word health remains up to this day a crucial aspect of ones everyday life.

Indeed, determining whether or not someone is healthy is not an easy matter but it ismore than necessary in order to take consequences. Health is personal, social and emotional. It touches everyone in an important way. It is crucial to realise the importance of the definition as itdefinitely has an impact on how a nation, and even a region allocates its resources. For most people health becomes a topic of interest only in its absence. This is the negative definition of health.The positive definition of health is much different. It is viewed as a capacity, an optimistic view, where health is a state of well-being. The World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) shares this definitionand characterises health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity".(1946). Although the definition sounds good and complete, manycritics such as professor Niyi Awofeso argue that the W.H.O. definition of health is "utopian, inflexible, and unrealistic, and that including the word 'complete' in the definition makes it highlyunlikely that anyone would be healthy for a reasonable period of time."

Descartes, the father of modern philosophy interestingly mentions illness and health in his pursuite to prove that the mind isseperate from the body aswell. likens philosophy to a form of therapy that can treat the mind's illnesses (those that stand in the way of its happiness), just as medicine treats the illnesses of the...
tracking img