UWE Philosophy / Royal Institute of Philosophy Event

The Hiddenness of Health
Dr Niall Keane (University of Limerick) with a response from Dr Havi Carel (UWE)

Abstract: ‘Health’ is an ambiguous term which indicates the mode of being of an individual. At the same time, however, one can use this term in a variety of different ways: a healthy body, healthy eating, a healthy attitude towards life, etc. For instance, the environment is said to be healthy if it helps to sustain the individual’s well-being, while a healthy complexion is said to be healthy because it manifests a state of health. In this talk, the concept of health will be used to define one’s relationship to oneself and others in the world. Examining the use of the terms ‘health’ and ‘illness’ in antiquity, and their reception by philosophical hermeneutics, I will assess not only the subjective aspects of health and illness, but also the former’s enigmatic illusiveness. This means that the “mystery of illness and the great miracle of health”, as the philosopher Hans Georg Gadamer calls it, indicates that well-being involves an equilibrated self-forgetting or self-hiddenness which is disrupted by illness. I will examine the significance of Gadamer’s contribution to the debate when it comes to the so-called “ontological primacy” of the self’s self-presence to itself, its being “unhindered” as the appropriate rhythm of life, and the constitutive role that health and well-being play when it comes to this appropriately balanced self-presence.

This is the second instalment in the ‘Medicine and Society’ seminar series sponsored by UWE Philosophy and the Royal Institute of Philosophy. The event will be held on Wednesday 8 February at Goldbrick House, 69 Park Street, Bristol, from 19:00 onwards. Please email Darian Meacham to register.

There will be a small reception at Goldbrick House 69 Park St Bristol, Avon BS1 5PB following the talk. The talk and the reception are free, but places are limited so registration is kindly requested. Please email Darian Meacham to register.


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