Breast Implants

Radio Q&A: 4 November 2012, Question 2

I answered a question on breast implants on 4 November 2012. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.

What advice should I give to a friend considering breast implants? A friend of mine is considering breast implants, purely for cosmetic reasons. In other words, she's not having reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy: she just wants larger breasts. Do you think that purely cosmetic breast implant surgery is moral? Is it wise? What advice should I give her, if any?

My Answer, In Brief: You should recognize that breast implant surgery is not necessarily moral or immoral. It can be immoral if the woman evades the risks, spends money that she can't afford, acts on a second-handed desire to please someone else, or otherwise sacrifices greater values. But it can be moral for a woman of healthy self-esteem who has been bothered by the size or shape of breasts, provided that she understands the risks of surgery and can afford the surgery.

Tags: Body Image, Ethics, Medicine, Personal Values, Self-Esteem, Vanity

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I'm Dr. Diana Brickell. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."

My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and some Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or discuss a topic of interest.

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