Bodily Felt Freedom: an Ethical Perspective on Positive Aspects of Deep Brain Stimulation



The critical aspects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) are usually the focus of the ethical debate about the implantation of electrodes into the brain of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Above all, potential postoperative side effects on personality caused by DBS mark the debate. However, rehabilitation of agility and mobility by DBS can be posited against critical aspects. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to emphasize the hitherto neglected positive aspects of that technology. A detailed study of the rehabilitation of controlled movements will thus be the object of this article. The possibility to move again in a controlled way will be discussed as freedom of movement. The concept freedom of movement is being linked to the observation of feelings of euphoria and joy that can occur after surgery for patients with PD stimulated in the subthalamic nucleus (STN). This is done based on phenomenological analysis and qualitative interviews, in which the relation between freedom of movement and feelings of joy becomes clear. The aim here is to show that these feelings of exaltation express an essential feeling of freedom – a bodily felt freedom – which is grounded in movement and can be regained by STN-DBS.


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