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Prosthetic embodiment

  • Sean AasEmail author


What makes something a part of my body, for moral purposes? Is the body defined naturalistically: by biological relations, or psychological relations, or some combination of the two? This paper approaches this question by considering a borderline case: the status of prostheses. I argue that extant accounts of the body fail to capture prostheses as genuine body parts. Nor, however, do they provide plausible grounds for excluding prostheses, without excluding some paradigm organic parts in the process. I conclude by suggesting that embodiment is moralized all the way down: to be a body part is to be the sort of thing that ought to be protected, in a certain way, by social practices.


Prosthesis Sense of ownership Extended mind Organism Biological individuation Disability 



Thanks to two anonymous reviewers, David Wasserman and Bryce Huebner for helpful comments on drafts, and to audiences at Brown University, the University of Washington, Georgetown University, the National Institutes of Health, and the Manchester Center for Political Theory for discussion of predecessors to this paper.


Funding was provided by The Greenwall Foundation Faculty Scholars Program.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Kennedy Institute of EthicsGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

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