Róbson Ramos dos Reis – Illness and Generality

Illness and Generality – Róbson Ramos dos Reis (Universidade Federal de Santa Maria)


This paper has as its main topic a basic outcome derived from the phenomenological approach to philosophy of medicine and health theory: the conception of the center of the experience of illness as the existential feeling of uncanniness that accompanies bodily doubt. My goal hereby is twice. First, to suggest the hypothesis that the ontological structure corresponding to this existential feeling is a dynamic unity of two ways of being: historical existence and organic life. In this respect, my hypothesis diverges from interpretations of the uncanniness of illness as the presence of living body in the manner of a broken tool and as the emergency of existential finitude and mortality. My point is that uncanniness in illness has its ground on a second order ontological and dynamical phenomenon constituted by a unity of two ways of being. Second, to interpret these ways of being as dimensions of identity conditions, which imply forms of determinations committed to relations of categorial generality. Given the metaphysical priority of categorial species over its genera, and given the impossibility of a non-circular account of categorial species, it follows that the intrinsic difficulty in describing the existential feeling in illness is not only due to its very nature as tacit and pre-intentional. Moreover, this difficulty is based on the contingencies that limit the exemplarist methodology necessary to the interpretation of phenomena enjoying categorial generality. These two objectives belong to the broader framework of a programmatic research to be extended to other formal components of the phenomenological account of illness. However, a robust meta-theoretical conclusion may be drawn from my present concern: ontological pluralism and the doctrine of categorial generality are conceptual and methodological relevant to theory of affectivity, health theory, philosophy of health sciences, and to the field of theoretical and normative problems related to the epistemic injustice in illness.