The new issue of Public Culture (Fall 2008, 20:3, issue 56) has an essay by Georges Canguilhem, “Health: Crude Concept and Philosophical Question,” which explores the concept of “health” and its philosophical ground (and whether it has one…). The essay first appeared as “La santé” in Cahiers du séminaire de philosophie (1988), and was later published as “La santé, concept vulgaire et question philosophique,” in Écrits sur la médecine (Paris: Seuil, 2000). The essay is a bit off the radar compared with more widely read works (The Normal and the Pathological and his selected writings, A Vital Rationalist), but in many ways anticipates a broader reading of Canguilhem’s work (a forthcoming translation of Knowledge of Life, for instance). And since I only translated the essay (with Stefanos Geroulanos), I hope this posting falls short of shameless (shameful?) self-promotion. I do think the essay begins to introduce basic questions and concerns that cut across much of our research and writing.
If your library doesn’t carry Public Culture, and for whatever reason you can’t purchase a copy from Duke University Press, then contact me and we’ll figure something out…