성균관대학교

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Research Stories

Ontological Reflection on Hospital Spaces: Interpreting Hospitals through Heideggerian concept of Care and Dwelling

-Establishing Academic and Theoretical Foundations for the (Re) Configuration of Hospital Spaces: -Anticipating Interdisciplinary Research Outcomes and Collaborative Synergies

Hybrid Future Culture Institute
Prof. Hye Youn Park

  • Ontological Reflection on Hospital Spaces: Interpreting Hospitals through Heideggerian concept of Care and Dwelling
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The significance of hospitals in contemporary human life continues to increase with advancements in scientific and medical technology. However, philosophical reflection on the fundamental existential meaning and role of hospital spaces is notably absent. Although hospitals have taken a central role in human existence, they are often perceived merely as technical treatment spaces focused on effectively treating illnesses and preventing infections.


Hye Youn Park, a senior researcher at Hybrid Future Culture Institute and adjunct professor of philosophy, uses Descartes's concept of spatiality to critique the spatialization of disease in modern hospitals. Additionally, through Heidegger's discourse on technology, she offers fresh insight that the authentic mode of existence of hospitals is rooted in 'Care.'


While 'care' has been used as a methodological concept to describe the practice of medicine or nursing, this study argues, through Heideggerian thought, that 'care' is the fundamental spatiality of the hospital.


Furthermore, by connecting Heidegger's thoughts on dwellings with the spatiality of hospitals, this study critically examines the problems associated with hospital architecture and suggests new alternatives.


"Through various discussions and critiques, I attempted to reflect on the ontology of contemporary hospital spaces and also laid academic and theoretical groundwork suggesting that hospital spaces, which possess distinct limitations regarding human existence, should be reconstructed," remarked Park regarding the study.


"The significance of the study is that it is a theoretical discussion. It provides a catalyst for future interdisciplinary research on hospital spaces regarding architectural phenomenology while simultaneously proposing a new paradigm for hospital architecture that considers medical staff and patients," she added.


Hye Youn Park is a member of the Hybrid Future Culture Institute, which conducts interdisciplinary research across the humanities to examine the issues facing our time and proposes practical alternatives.


Hye Youn Park's findings have been published in the March 2024 issue of Medical Humanities, a scholarly journal in the field of Humanities, Multidisciplinary (IF 1.2, JCR top 1.8%), affiliated with the British Medical Journal. Additionally, an introduction to the study and its author, Hye-Youn Park, was also posted on the official blog of the journal.


※ Title: Hospital space interpreted according to Heidegger's concepts of care and dwelling

※ Journal: Medical Humanities

※ First & Corresponding author: Hye Youn Park (Hybrid Future Culture Institute and adjunct professor of philosophy)

※ DOI: 10.1136/medhum-2023-012696

※Link to the journal's official blog: https://blogs.bmj.com/medical-humanities/2024/04/09/hospital-space-interpreted-according-to-heideggers-concepts-of-care-and-dwelling/



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