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The relevance of Heidegger's philosophy of technology for biomedical ethics
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Centre for Studies in Practical Knowledge.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8973-8591
2013 (English)In: Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, ISSN 1386-7415, E-ISSN 1573-1200, Vol. 34, no 1, 1-15 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Heidegger's thoughts on modern technology have received much attention in many disciplines and fields, but, with a few exceptions, the influence has been sparse in biomedical ethics. The reason for this might be that Heidegger's position has been misinterpreted as being generally hostile towards modern science and technology, and the fact that Heidegger himself never subjected medical technologies to scrutiny but was concerned rather with industrial technology and information technology. In this paper, Heidegger's philosophy of modern technology is introduced and then brought to bear on medical technology. Its main relevance for biomedical ethics is found to be that the field needs to focus upon epistemological and ontological questions in the philosophy of medicine related to the structure and goal of medical practice. Heidegger's philosophy can help us to see how the scientific attitude in medicine must always be balanced by and integrated into a phenomenological way of understanding the life-world concerns of patients. The difference between the scientific and the phenomenological method in medicine is articulated by Heidegger as two different ways of studying the human body: as biological organism and as lived body. Medicine needs to acknowledge the priority of the lived body in addressing health as a way of being-in-the-world and not as the absence of disease only. A critical development of Heidegger's position can provide us with a criterion for distinguishing the uses of medical technologies that are compatible with such an endeavor from the technological projects that are not.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 34, no 1, 1-15 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-17482DOI: 10.1007/s11017-012-9240-2ISI: 000315460700001PubMedID: 23180381ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84874647725OAI: diva2:601141
Available from: 2013-01-28 Created: 2012-12-14 Last updated: 2016-10-10Bibliographically approved

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