'Prosthetic Fit': On Personal Identity and the Value of Bodily Difference
Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy: A European Journal 2004; 7(3): 303-310
It is within the context of a person's life story, we argue, that the idea of wearing a prosthesis assumes place and meaning. To develop this argument, a brightly colored hook prosthesis for children is taken as a starting point for reflection. The prosthesis can be seen as fitting this person perfectly, when the bodily difference is understood as positively adding to this person's identity. The choice for the prosthesis is normative in a moral sense, in that it is grounded in a person's fundamental convictions with respect to his being and living. This understanding of 'how to live' can best be grasped--as is suggested--in contrastive terms of 'sameness' and 'otherness'. Striving for conformity and similarity would do no justice to the experiences and ideals of unique persons, and would come at great cost. Moreover, society is not benefited by persons who merely conform, who copy and imitate others, but by those who willfully live up to their own unique standards.
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