Every medical system features processes for assessing a patient’s complaint, distinguishing one pathological state from another, and attributing manifested symptoms to specific causes. In other words, every medical system trains practitioners in its protocols for diagnosis. From the Greek διαγιγνώσκω (distinguish, discern), diagnosis is a practice for determining “the nature of a diseased condition” (OED Online 2021, “diagnosis”). To make a diagnosis is to comment on the very nature of disease and health—if only indirectly—and diagnostic systems tacitly advance strong normative claims about states of “illness” and “health.” The ontological, sociolinguistic, sociological, anthropological, and comparative aspects of diagnosis—both entity and practice—have compelled research for decades.

This essay may be found on page 55 of the printed volume.

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