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Article
January 6, 1989

Hidden Arguments: Political Ideology and Disease Prevention Policy

Author Affiliations

The University of Texas School of Public Health Houston

The University of Texas School of Public Health Houston

JAMA. 1989;261(1):122. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420010134050

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Abstract

Sylvia Noble Tesh, in her book Hidden Arguments: Political Ideology and Disease Prevention Policy, presents an argument that science is not uninfluenced by politics and values, that presumably value-free scientific conceptions of illness and disease have both influenced and been influenced by non—value-free political and ideological conceptions, and that these perspectives have directly influenced the policies and programs directed to preventing and curing illness in our society. She, in fact, despairs of the conduct of science ever being insulated from dominant political or societal values, but instead argues that at a minimum those concerned with formulating sound health-promotion and disease-prevention policy should try to "get the politics out of hiding" (p 177) and bring these "hidden arguments" into the arena of public scrutiny and debate.

Dr Tesh provides an insightful analysis of the dominant theories of disease causation (the germ, life-style, and environmental theories) in the 19th and 20th centuries

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