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Rethinking Organ Transplants: Whose Body, What Body?

Rethinking Organ Transplants: Whose Body, What Body?

(p.120) 8 Rethinking Organ Transplants: Whose Body, What Body?
The Distressed Body
Drew Leder
University of Chicago Press

Should a person be allowed to sell a kidney to an eager buyer? Should a government “presume consent” to harvest cadaver organs unless one deliberately opt-outs, or is this state intrusion? Rather than engage in standard ethical theorizing I use a hermeneutical approach to examine the contexts that shape practice. These include the capitalist model of the body as a producer, consumer, and commodity for purchase, and the Cartesian notion of the body as a machine with replaceable parts. This chapter proposes instead a phenomenological model of the lived body as in deep connection, even interpenetration, with other bodies from before birth until after death. Such a perspective would reframe, on the individual and policy level, ways in which we practice organ transplants.

Keywords:   organ donation, government, consent, capitalism, commodity, body as machine, phenomenology, Cartesian

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