Bodies, Functions, and Imperfections

In Peter Cheyne (ed.), Imperfectionist Aesthetics in Art and Everyday Life. Routledge. pp. 271-283 (2023)
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The culturally pervasive tendency to identify aspects of the body as aesthetically imperfect harms individuals and scaffolds injustice related to disability, race, gender, LGBTQ+ identities, and fatness. But abandoning the notion of imperfection may not respect people’s reasonable understandings of their own bodies. I examine the prospects for a practice of aesthetic assessment grounded in a notion of the body’s function. I argue that functional aesthetic assessment, to be respectful, requires understanding the body’s functions as complex, malleable, and determined by the projects and interests of the person whose body it is. Aesthetically relevant functions, on this account, are determined neither by the body’s status as organism nor by cultural assumptions about how bodies should function or be used.



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Sherri Irvin
University of Oklahoma

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Resisting Body Oppression: An Aesthetic Approach.Sherri Irvin - 2017 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 3 (4):1-26.
The Merrickites.Glenn Parsons - 2016 - In Sherri Irvin (ed.), Body Aesthetics. Oxford University Press. pp. 110-126.

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