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Foredrag

Prostheses as Narrative Technologies

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Foredrag — MeST Seminar with Geoffrey Dierckxsens, Czech Academy of Sciences (Prague) Prostheses as Narrative Technologies: Bioethical Considerations for Prosthetic Applications in Health Care

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Date & Time:

Place:
Department of Public Health
Øster Farimagsgade 5
CSS 10.0.11

Hosted by:
Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies (MeST)

Cost:
Free

MeST Seminar with Geoffrey Dierckxsens, Czech Academy of Sciences (Prague)

Prostheses as Narrative Technologies: Bioethical Considerations for Prosthetic Applications in Health Care

In recent years, scholars have introduced the concept of narrative technologies (e.g. Coeckelbergh and Reijers 2016). This notion expresses the idea that different technologies become part of our life stories, meaning that we consciously and less consciously use technologies to express our experiences, values and ideas. Narrative technologies are therefore often normative: they contain personal and social values, which are part of people’s narratives. In my talk, I will develop some of the normative aspects of narrative technologies by looking at cases of prosthetic applications in health care. In order to make my case, I will draw on phenomenological bioethics (e.g. Slatman 2012, Svenaeus 2018) and on Paul Ricoeur’s concept of the social imaginary, understood as the whole of a community’s social values and norms. I will argue that this concept allows to gain further insight in ways patients ethically evaluate prosthetic treatment as narrative technologies. More exactly, whether and to what extent a patient values a prosthesis as valuable or less valuable is not only the result of its functionality, comfort or even how well a patient is capable of engaging with the technology. Ethical evaluation of technologies (as being valuable or not) always has a social dimension that is not merely individual or rational. Since any kind of evaluation is potentially consciously or unconsciously influenced by different types of social values or norms (whether ideological, religious, political or other), awareness of this influence is crucial in the context of health care; and in particular, as I will argue, in relations between patients and health care professionals that involve prosthetic treatment and evaluation thereof.

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