Beauty in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Is Every Child a Pearl?

James R. Thobaben, Anna Rebecca Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


All forms of beauty create appeal or enticement with moral significance. Sublime beauty draws one into a deep relationship that properly promotes the good and true. Parents tend to experience such beauty in their children, as eloquently described in works such as the 14th-century poem 'The Pearl', and they see this even when their children are desperately ill or dying. The experience of beauty in one's child creates or reinforces the morality of caring. Unfortunately, at the end of modernity, the framing of beauty as only instrumental and subjective generally works against any recognition of dignity or respect for the very small pediatric patient. Practitioners who believe in the intrinsic value and dignity of persons as general concepts should recognize parental drawing toward their children as a particularization of a transcendental value.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbercbz006
Pages (from-to)227-254
Number of pages28
JournalChristian Bioethics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • Aesethics
  • Aesthetic-ethical process
  • Alfie Evans
  • Beauty
  • Gawain author
  • Neonatal intensive care
  • Pulchritudinous beauty
  • Sublime beauty
  • Transcendentals


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