The enigma of health: cultural, health political, and philosophical aspects

Ethics, at its core, relates to our practices and their moral justification. The practice of medicine, by definition, takes place in a fundamentally ethical context. In ordinary circumstances the goals to which physicians direct their medical practices are held tacitly, but sometimes fresh examination of these is occasioned. This conceptual article considers a range of approaches that have been taken to the notion of health, ancient and modern, historical and contemporary, beginning with the socio-cultural, then the health political, and finally the medical philosophical.