Albrecht von Haller e o Debates sobre a existéncia de los Seres Humanos hermafroditas

Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 66 (1):70-80 (2010)

Abstract
Durante todo o século XVIII, existiu um grande fascínio por seres humanos hermafroditas. Este interesse encontra-se patenteado nas suas inúmeras exibiçōes públicas e nas vánas dissertaçōes académicas sobre o tema. Neste período, e em contraste com o anterior, a existência de seres humanos hermafroditas passou a ser questionada por membros da comunidade médica da época incluindo James Parsons, para o qual a figura do hermafrodita deveria ser erradicada do entendimento anatómico da diferença sexual. Albrecht von Haller nāo ficou indiferente à controvérsia sobre a existência de hermafroditas humanos. Este artigo tem como objectivo apresentar e debater a sua visāo sobre esta temática, primeiramente apresentada na sua dissertaçāo sobre hermafroditas datada de 1752 e depois num artigo da Encyclopédie de 1777. De que modo a sua abordagem do problema foi distinta da dos seus contemporâneos? Qual foi o seu contúbuto para o entendimento da ambiguidade sexual? Haller pnvilegiou o estudo de homens com deformaçōes genitais habitualmente descrítos como hermafroditas mas que, no seu entender, deveriam ser considerados verdadeiros homens com plenos direitos legais e sociais. Mais ainda, Haller não tinha uma visāo redutora sobre o problema da ambiguidade sexual. No seu entender, os seres humanos hermafroditas, embora raros, poderíam existir. Afinal, o estudo da natureza mostrava o quāo ela era fértil na produçãāo de novas figuras e formas. Throughout the eighteenth century, there was a great fascination with human hermaphrodites. This interest is evident in their frequent public exhibitions and in the numerous academic dissertations published on the subject. In contrast with the previous period where men, women and hermaphrodites where thought to exist, the very existence of the latter was called into question by some members of the medical community including James Parsons for whom the the category of hermaphrodite should be eradicated from the understanding of sexual diference. Albrecht von Haller was not indifferent to the controversy on the existence of human hermaphrodites. This article is concerned with his views on the issue first presented in his dissertation on hermaphrodites and later in the French Encyclopédie . To what extent were his views on the subject different from the ones argued by other anatomists of the period? What was his contribute to the understanding of sexual ambiguity? In this paper, I will argue that Haller was especially concerned with men with genital deformations who, in his view, should not be described as hermaphrodites and should have the same social rights as other men. Moreover, Haller had an open view on the issue of the existence of human hermaphrodites. Although he considered the possibility of their existence rare, he did not deny the vast potential of nature in producing new shapes and forms
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