David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Medical Ethics 30 (3):279-285 (2004)
This paper is written in response to controversial judicial decisions following separation surgery on conjoined twins “Jodie” and “Mary”. The courts, it is argued, seem to have conceptualised the twins as “entangled singletons” requiring medical intervention to render them physically separate and thus “as they were meant to be”, notwithstanding the death of the weaker twin, “Mary”. In contrast, we argue that certain notions, philosophical and biological, of what human beings are intended to be, are problematic. We consider three compelling conceptualisations of conjoined twins and advocate a model that conceives them as two psychologically separate individuals who happen to share a body, the sharing of a body being integral to the individuality of each twin. While we reject an “essentialist” view of the conjoined state, a view which might render separation surgery unthinkable in all cases, we nevertheless argue against an “adversarial” interpretation of conjoined twins’ respective best interests. We maintain that the physical entanglement should be regarded as a shared problem rather than one posed by one twin to the other. And if, after deliberation, separation surgery is deemed the “least detrimental alternative” or the “lesser of two evils”, then there should be recognition of what conjoined twins will lose, as well as gain, through separation. The current drive to separate twins at all costs may evince a deeper unease with bodily configurations that appear to threaten the premium that the Western ethical and legal tradition places on personal sovereignty, and the physical circumscription that such sovereignty assumes
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Reuben Johnson & Philip Weir (2016). Separation of Craniopagus Twins. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 25 (1):38-49.
Similar books and articles
Y. Michael Barilan (2003). One or Two: An Examination of the Recent Case of the Conjoined Twins From Malta. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 28 (1):27 – 44.
Christopher Cowley (2003). The Conjoined Twins and the Limits of Rationality in Applied Ethics. Bioethics 17 (1):69–88.
Rose Koch (2006). Conjoined Twins and the Biological Account of Personal Identity. The Monist 89 (3):351-370.
David Wenkel (2006). Separation of Conjoined Twins and the Principle of Double Effect. Christian Bioethics 12 (3):291-300.
Kenneth Einar Himma (1999). Thomson's Violinist and Conjoined Twins. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 8 (4):428-435.
Stephan Blatti (2007). Animalism, Dicephalus, and Borderline Cases. Philosophical Psychology 20 (5):595-608.
R. Gillon (2001). Imposed Separation of Conjoined Twins-- Moral Hubris by the English Courts? Journal of Medical Ethics 27 (1):3-4.
D. A. (1998). The Limits of Individuality: Ritual and Sacrifice in the Lives and Medical Treatment of Conjoined Twins. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 29 (1):1-29.
Christine Overall (2009). Conjoined Twins, Embodied Personhood, and Surgical Separation. In Lisa Tessman (ed.), Feminist Ethics and Social and Political Philosophy: Theorizing the Non-Ideal. Springer 69--84.
Shelley Tremain (2009). Review of One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal by Alice Domurat Dreger. [REVIEW] International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 2 (1):181-184.
Kenneth Einar Himma (2000). Response to “Commentary on Thomson's Violinist and Conjoined Twins” by John K. Davis. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 9 (1):120-122.
Alice Domurat Dreger (1998). The Limits of Individuality: Ritual and Sacrifice in the Lives and Medical Treatment of Conjoined Twins. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 29 (1):1-29.
Added to index2010-08-24
Total downloads13 ( #261,911 of 1,792,063 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #207,127 of 1,792,063 )
How can I increase my downloads?