Unbridled Care

The WHO’s definition of “health,” formulated in 1948, reads: ‘A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. Worldwide there is and was discussion about it.

When the Dutch physician and researcher Machteld Huber fell ill, she noticed she was able to influence her recovery to a large extent. This led her to organize an international conference in 2009 and since then numerous experts from over the world worked on a new definition. In line with positive psychology their insights led to the definition of what was called “Positive Health”: The ability to adapt and self-manage in the face of social, physical, and emotional challenges. So the emphasis is on the resilience from individuals and on what makes their lives meaningful. It is the mission of the Institute for Positive Health (iPH), headquartered in the Netherlands, to stimulate, strengthen and accelerate this new concept.

Although the so-called Positive Health movement has achieved great success, certainly in the Netherlands, it has also been criticized. In 2017 Frans Vosman, founder of this website, wrote an essay in which he argues why the idea of Positive Health has to be seen as a cause for serious concern. As editorial staff of our website we agree with his critique and we share his concern, so we decided to get his text translated.

(Introduction to the article: Brecht Molenaar)

You can read the article here


About the author: Frans Vosman

Frans Vosman

Prof. dr. Frans Vosman studied moral theology and philosophy at Nijmegen University and did a doctorate on economical ethics in Paris and Rome. Professor Louis Vereecke was his promotor. He was engaged in medical ethics before he took interest in the ethics of care, at Tilburg University, where he was professor ethics of care. He held a chair ethics of care at the University of Humanistics, Utrecht. He was interested in combining conceptual and empirical ethics and in the fundamental political character of the ethics of care. Together with colleagues he did research in a general hospital about patients perspectives and research with regard to people with an intellectual disability. He focused on the ethics of care as a form of fundamental political ethics, He considered the connections with other forms of political ethics, with epistemology and political forms of phenomenology to be quintessential. Frans Vosman died in June, 2020

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