Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 117-128

First online:

The Lived Body as Aesthetic Object in Anthropological Medicine

  • Wim DekkersAffiliated withDepartment of Ethics, Philosophy and History of Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences and Centre for Ethics, Catholic University Nijmegen

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Medicine does not usually consider the human body from an aesthetic point of view. This article explores the notion of the lived body as aesthetic object in anthropological medicine, concentrating on the views of Buytendijk and Straus on human uprightness and gracefulness. It is argued that their insights constitute a counter-balance to the way the human body is predominantly approached in medicine and medical ethics. In particular, (1) the relationship between anthropological, aesthetic and ethical norms, (2) the possible danger of a naturalistic fallacy, (3) the implications for the care of disabled people and (4) the intrinsic aesthetic quality of the human body are dealt with.

aesthetics anthropological medicine Buytendijk ethics gracefulness human body movements person philosophical anthropology Straus upright posture