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On health, ability and activity: Comments on some basic notions in the ICF
Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Department of Health and Society, Tema Health and Society.
2006 (English)In: Disability and Rehabilitation, ISSN 0963-8288, E-ISSN 1464-5165, Vol. 28, no 23, 1461-1465 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose. The purpose of this article is to highlight and at the same time criticize the holistic view of health expressed in the "International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)". Particular attention will be paid to the idea suggested in the ICF that not only the ability to perform a specified action but also its actual performance is included in the person's health. My argument intends to show that this is an untenable position. Method. The theoretical platform of this paper is philosophical action theory. My argument makes particular use of the distinctions between ability, opportunity, activity and will. My analysis also uses some insights from the contemporary philosophical discussion of health concepts. Conclusions. Ability (or capacity) and its opposite disability (or incapacity) are essential ingredients in the implicit philosophy of health of the ICF. However, the ICF also puts an emphasis on the actual performance of actions. This is entailed by the performance qualifier that is included in the ICF. I give some arguments for questioning the relevance of this qualifier if it is intended to have a place in the concept of health or have a general function for decisions in health care or rehabilitation. Instead I suggest the introduction of an opportunity qualifier, which could fulfill some of the purposes intended for the performance qualifier.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 28, no 23, 1461-1465 p.
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-37089DOI: 10.1080/09638280600925886Local ID: 33669OAI: diva2:257938
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2011-01-11

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Nordenfelt, Lennart
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