22 Mar 2009

Siep, Normative Aspects of the Human Body, Abstract

[The following is summary. The full text is available here or here.]

Ludwig Siep

Normative Aspects of the Human Body


Throughout its cultural history, humanity has ascribed the human body with a wide range of valuations, spanning from the image of God to the tool of the devil. Today we consider ourselves the owner of our body. It serves our wishes. And technology may make it more able to do so.

Siep objects. The human body bears a valuable "common heritage."

We need to maintain our modern social and legal order. To do so, it is essential that we preserve a particular understanding of the human body. It is a "normal" human body resulting from our natural and cultural history. But some might choose to alter their bodies through technology. Yet, this risks our sense of the body's normal condition. It would disrupt our social and legal order. Hence we should hold public debates regard the body's technical alteration so that we may make better common decisions regarding it. (171)

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