By Lennart Nordenfelt (auth.)

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Extra info for On the Nature of Health: An Action-Theoretic Approach

Sample text

As a result the toxin is gradually neutralised and the microbes killed. This outline of a description of a process of infection is at the same time a description of a species-typical re action to a serious attack on the body. It may very weIl be that every part of the body has, during this process, given its species-typical contribution to the ultimate goals of survival and reproduction. In fact, the infectious disease can be seen as the species-typical re action to the circumstance of a certain microbial invasion.

This simple structure presupposes that there is an opportunity for action. Consider the case of the revolutionary. A precondition for his creating a revolution in the way depicted by the action-chain is that he puts hirnself in a position to shoot the tyrant. He must obtain a gun, and transport hirns elf to a place within shooting distance of the tyrant. The accomplishment of creating a revolution by killing the tyrant, then, presupposes previous actions and these actions are themselves normally accomplishments.

Consider now certain extreme circumstances. Weshall study a situation in which certain external factors apparently damage parts of the human body. e. the paradigm case of an infection. Consider the main steps in such an infectious process. A number of pathogenic agents enter, say, the throat. They start producing toxins, which immediately destroy a great number of cells on the mucous membranes. The body quickly reacts to this attack. There is a great concentration of blood at the focal points of the infection; the body temperature rises; certain tissues create antibodies against the viruses and the pathogenic toxin.

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