Experiencing objectified health: turning the body into an object of attention

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Abstract

In current phenomenology of medicine, health is often understood as a state of transparency in which our body refrains from being an object of explicit attention. In this paper, I argue that such an understanding of health unnecessarily presupposes an overly harmonious alignment between subjective and objective body, resulting in the idea that our health remains phenomenologically inaccessible. Alternatively, I suggest that there are many occasions in which one’s body in health does become an object of attention, and that technologies mediate how a relation with one’s body is formed. First, I show how prominent accounts in current phenomenology of medicine understand health in terms of a harmonious alignment between objective and subjective body. Second, I argue that there are many occasions in which there is a disharmony between objective and subjective body, and suggest that also in health, we cannot escape being an object that we often relate to. Then, I draw on postphenomenology to show how technologies such as digital self-tracking applications and digital twins can be understood as mediating the relationship with one’s own body in a specific way. In conclusion, I argue that both technologies make present the objective body as a site for hermeneutic inquiry such that it can be interacted with in terms of health
parameters. Furthermore, I point to some relevant differences in how different technologies make aspects of our own body phenomenologically present.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalMedicine, health care and philosophy
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 3 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Postphenomenology
  • Technological mediation
  • Self-tracking
  • Digital twin
  • Phenomenology of health

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