Nudity is a subject that evokes fascination and repulsion in many people at the same time. Some people feel most comfortable naked, while others feel uncomfortable in the presence of naked skin. Again and again, philosophers throughout the centuries have pondered the meaning of nudity and how it can affect our society and our minds. Now, if you feel like learning more about how philosophers justify nudity, you’ve come to the right place!
First, let’s look at the Stoics’ attitude toward nudity. For them, the skin of the human body was merely a covering for the true self. A Stoic had no problem walking around naked or being seen since he didn’t care what others thought or thought of him. He lived in harmony with himself and with nature, ignoring society’s expectations and prejudices. For Stoicism, nudity thus means freedom and self-determination.
Enlightenment philosophy also had a positive attitude toward nudity. In the wake of the Enlightenment and the associated freedom from dogma and autocratic rules, many thinkers saw nudity as a symbol of freedom and independence. In this context, nudity is seen as an expression of reason and rationality, allowing us to break free from immature, irrational or impolite ideas.
Another example is the philosophical approach of naturism, which views nudity as a natural and healthy state of the human body. Naturists argue that clothing is just a cultural convention and that nudity allows us to get closer to nature and our own bodies. They also argue that nudity can be a means of breaking down prejudice and social hierarchies because all people are equal in their natural form.
The freedom of self-determination approach states that everyone has the right to decide for themselves what to do with their bodies. This approach argues that the forced covering of the body by clothing is an interference with the freedom and integrity of the individual and that nudity is a way to regain that freedom and integrity.
There are also philosophical approaches that focus on the aesthetics of nudity. These approaches emphasize the beauty and grace of the human body and argue that nudity is a way to reveal and appreciate that beauty.
If we look at different cultures around the world, we will find that there are both positive and negative attitudes toward nudity. Some cultures see it as natural, unproblematic, and important for health, while others see it as incriminating, unbridled, or immoral. In a world where we have different cultures living together, we begin to understand that there is no universal truth regarding nudity.