Jeremy Simon - Are diseases real?

I had a cold last winter, and so did countless other people. We had sore throats and runny noses and maybe even a cough. At first glance, it seems hard to deny that the common cold is real. But that’s exactly what a disease antirealist would deny, and there are some philosophical arguments to back them up. Not to be outdone, the disease realist has some philosophical arguments at their disposal too. But what does it mean ask whether diseases are real? And are diseases real or not?

Today’s consultation is with philosopher Jeremy Simon, Associate Professor at the Columbia University Medical Center.

This episode is published jointly with the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Visit the Journal website to read an accompanying article by Dr. Simon, “Conceptualizing diseases” (2019, 191: E507-E508).

Jonathan Fuller