Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 117–128 | Cite as

The Lived Body as Aesthetic Object in Anthropological Medicine

  • Wim Dekkers
Article

Abstract

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 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Baron, R.J.: 1992, ‘Why aren't more doctors phenomenologists?’, In: D. Leder (ed.), The Body in Medical Thought and Practice. Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 37–47.Google Scholar
  2. Beardsley, M.C.: 1967, ‘Aesthetics, history of’, In: P. Edwards (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Volume I. New York: The MacMillan Company & The Free Press/London: Collier-Macmillan Limited, pp. 18–35.Google Scholar
  3. Bremmer, J. and H. Roodenburg (eds): 1991, A Cultural History of Gesture from Antiquity to the Present Day. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  4. Budd, M.: 1998, “Aesthetic Attitude’ and ‘Aesthetics”, In: E. Craig (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Volume I. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 51–55 and 59-61.Google Scholar
  5. Buytendijk, F.J.J.: 1948, Algemene theorie der menselijke houding en beweging [General Theory of Human Posture and Movement]. Antwerpen: Standaard-boekhandel.Google Scholar
  6. Buytendijk, F.J.J.: 1952, De Vrouw. Haar natuur, verschijning en bestaan. Utrecht/Antwerpen: Het Spectrum [translated as: Woman. A Contemporary View. New York: Newman Press and Association Press, 1968].Google Scholar
  7. Buytendijk, F.J.J.: 1974, Prolegomena to an Anthropological Physiology. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Buurman,. and K. Spaink 1991, Aan hartstocht geen gebrek. Handicap, erotiek en lichaamsbeleving. Amsterdam: De Brink/Ploegsma.Google Scholar
  9. Dekkers, J.M.: 1985, Het bezielde lichaam. Het ontwerp van een antropologische fysiologie en geneeskunde volgens F.J.J. Buytendijk [The Animated Body. The Design of an Anthropological Physiology and Medicine according to F.J.J. Buytendijk]. Zeist: Kerckebosch BV.Google Scholar
  10. Dekkers, W.J.M.: 1995, ‘F.J.J. Buytendijk's concept of an anthropological physiology’, Theoretical Medicine 16(1), pp. 15–39.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dekkers, W.J.M.: 1998, ‘The interpretive tradition. The body as a text’, In: M. Evans (ed.), Critical Reflection on Medical Ethics. Advances in Bioethics, Volume 4. Stamford/London: JAI Press Inc., pp. 209–228.Google Scholar
  12. Dutton, K.: 1995, The Perfectible body. The Western Ideal of Physical Development. London: Cassell.Google Scholar
  13. Gebsattel, V.E. von: 1954, Prolegomena einer medizinischen Anthropologie. Berlin etc.: Springer Verlag.Google Scholar
  14. Grene, M.: 1968, Approaches to a Philosophical Biology. New York/London: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  15. Harré, R.: 1991, Physical Being. A Theory for a Corporeal Psychology. Oxford UK/Cambridge USA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  16. Have, H.A.M.J ten: 1995, ‘The anthropological tradition in the philosophy of medicine’, Theoretical Medicine 16(1), pp. 3–14.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. IJsseling, S.: 1994, Apollo, Dionysos, Aphrodite en de anderen. Amsterdam: Boom.Google Scholar
  18. Kass, L.R.: 1985, ‘Thinking about the body’, The Hastings Center Report 15(1), pp. 20–30.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Merleau-Ponty, M.: 1994, Phenomenology of Perception. Translated by C. Smith. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Scheler, M: 1978, Die Stellung des Menschen im Kosmos. Bern/Munchen: Francke Verlag [originally 1928].Google Scholar
  21. Spicker, S.F. (ed.): 1970, Philosophy of the Body. Rejections of Cartesian Dualism. Chicago: Quadrangle Books.Google Scholar
  22. Spicker, S.F.: 1978, ‘The psychiatrist as philosopher. Gewidmet Erwin W. Straus, M.D., Ph.D.’, In: H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr and S.F. Spicker (eds.), Mental Health: Philosophical Perspectives. Dordrecht: Reidel Publishing Company, pp. 145–167.Google Scholar
  23. Spiegelberg, H: 1972, Phenomenology in Psychology and Psychiatry. A Historical Introduction. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Steen, W.J. van der, and P.J. Thung: 1988, Faces of Medicine. A Philosophical Study. Dordrecht etc.: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  25. Straus, E.W.: 1960, ‘Die aufrechte Haltung. Eine anthropologische Studie’, In: E. Straus, Psychologie der menschlichen Welt. Berlin etc.: Springer Verlag, pp. 224–235. [Reprint from Monatsschrift für Psychiatrie und Neurologie 117 (1949); A revised and enlarged version of this article has been published in 1952 as ‘The upright posture’, Psychiatric Quarterly 26, 529-561].Google Scholar
  26. Straus, E.W.: 1963, ‘Zum Sehen Geboren, Zum Schauen Bestellt’, In: E. Wiesenhütter (ed.), Werden und Handeln. Stuttgart: Hippocrates Verlag, pp. 44–73.Google Scholar
  27. Straus, E.W.: 1966, Phenomenological Psychology. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  28. Straus, E.W.: 1970. ‘Born to see, bound to behold: reflections on the function of upright posture in the esthetic attitude’, In: S.F. Spicker (ed.), The Philosophy of the Body. Rejections of Cartesian Dualism. Chicago: Quadrangle, pp. 334–361.Google Scholar
  29. Struyker-Boudier, H.: 1988, ‘Letters between F.J.J. Buytendijk and Erwin W. Straus’, Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 19, pp. 77–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Taylor, Ch.: 1989, Sources of the Self. The Making of the Modern Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Toombs, S.K.: 1992, ‘The body in multiple sclerosis: A patient's perspective’, In: D. Leder (ed.), The Body in Medical Thought and Practice. Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 127–137.Google Scholar
  32. Verwey, G.: 1990, ‘Medicine, anthropology, and the human body’, In: H.A.M.J. ten Have, G.K. Kimsma and S.F. Spicker (eds.), The Growth of Medical Knowledge. Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 133–162.Google Scholar
  33. Wachter, F. de: 1988, ‘The symbolism of the healthy body: A philosophical analysis of the sportive imagery of health’, In: W.J. Morgan and K.V. Meier (eds.), Philosophic Inquiry in Sport. Champaign: Human Kinetics Publishers, pp. 119–124.Google Scholar
  34. Weizsäcker, V. von: 1967, Pathosophie. Gottingen: Vanden-Hoeck & Ruprecht.Google Scholar
  35. Weizsäcker, V. von: 1973, Der Gestaltkreis. Theorie der Einheit von Wahrnehmen und Bewegen. Stuttgart: Thieme Verlag [originally 1940].Google Scholar
  36. Welie, J.V.M.: 1998, In The Face of Suffering. The Philosophical-Anthropological Foundations of Clinical Ethics. Omaha (Nebraska): Creighton University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wim Dekkers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ethics, Philosophy and History of Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences and Centre for EthicsCatholic University NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations