By Bogdan Olaru
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Extra info for Autonomy, Responsibility, and Health Care. Critical Reflections
Even mere biological needs, hunger, shelter, and sex are interpreted by cultural schemes, by symbols and rites. They characterize humans as living beings which have to learn how to treat their body and their vitality. The way basic needs are satisfied is not innate; they are modes in which a person exists. Therefore, the human body is not just a part of nature, but of culture, too. It is a mediator between nature and culture. On the one hand, the biography of an individual is incarnated; on the other hand, the body becomes a part of the biography.
Its functions are 7 M. Quante, 2002, p. 8 Self-consciousness is therefore invisible; it is completely hidden before the eyes of an external observer. 9 Fellow humans perceive a body which can be located in space and which functions in accordance with physical laws; only by analogy, because of the striking similarity with the own body, they ascribe self-consciousness to another body, too. Mediated by the body as an object of the empirical world, humans perceive one another under the perspective of the third person, as ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘it’, but not as ‘you’ or ‘we’.
45 But nature, too, is more than an object for recognition and the fulfillment of human interests. Through evolution, humans relate to all other living beings, both from a genetic and psychological point of view. Therefore, they can, at least to a certain degree, communicate with them. As Max Scheler argues, humans are the most complex living beings on this planet. 46 Though these beings have no responsibility for us, humans should feel responsible for them. To ignore this capacity does not only disturb nature; it implies a deficiency in personal identity and interpersonal relations, too.
Autonomy, Responsibility, and Health Care. Critical Reflections by Bogdan Olaru