Graduate studies at Western
Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (3):179-196 (2010)
|Abstract||This paper investigates the question of what an organ is from a phenomenological perspective. Proceeding from the phenomenology of being-in-the-world developed by Heidegger in Being and Time and subsequent works, it compares the being of the organ with the being of the tool. It attempts to display similarities and differences between the embodied nature of the organs and the way tools of the world are handled. It explicates the way tools belong to the totalities of things of the world that are ready to use and the way organs belong to the totality of a bodily being able to be in this very world. In so doing, the paper argues that while the organ is in some respects similar to a bodily tool, this tool is nonetheless different from the tools of the world in being tied to the organism as a whole, which offers the founding ground of the being of the person. However, from a phenomenological point of view, the line between organs and tools cannot simply be drawn by determining what is inside and outside the physiological borders of the organism. We have, from the beginning of history, integrated technological devices (tools) in our being-in-the-world in ways that make them parts of ourselves rather than parts of the world (more organ- than tool-like), and also, more recently, have started to make our organs more tool-like by visualising, moving, manipulating, and controlling them through medical technology. In this paper, Heidegger’s analysis of organ, tool, and world-making is confronted with this development brought about by contemporary medical technology. It is argued that this development has, to a large extent, changed the phenomenology of the organ in making our bodies more similar to machines with parts that have certain functions and that can be exchanged. This development harbours the threat of instrumentalising our bodily being but also the possibility of curing or alleviating suffering brought about by diseases which disturb and destroy the normal functioning of our organs.|
|Keywords||Organ transplantation Phenomenology Heidegger Philosophy of medical technology Tool Embodiment|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Aaron Spital (2003). Conscription of Cadaveric Organs for Transplantation: Neglected Again. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 13 (2):169-174.
F. Svenaeus (2012). Organ Transplantation and Personal Identity: How Does Loss and Change of Organs Affect the Self? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 37 (2):139-158.
Thomas A. Shannon (2001). The Kindness of Strangers: Organ Transplantation in a Capitalist Age. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 11 (3):285-303.
Jeremy Snyder (2009). Easy Rescues and Organ Transplantation. HEC Forum 21 (1):27-53.
Sarah B. Rodriguez & Lisa Campo-Engelstein (2011). Conceiving Wholeness Women, Motherhood, and Ovarian Transplantation, 1902 and 2004. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 54 (3):409-416.
Dominic Wilkinson & Julian Savulescu (2012). Should We Allow Organ Donation Euthanasia? Alternatives for Maximizing the Number and Quality of Organs for Transplantation. Bioethics 26 (1):32-48.
Patricia A. Marshall, David C. Thomasma & Abdallah S. Daar (1996). Marketing Human Organs: The Autonomy Paradox. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 17 (1).
F. Varela (2001). Intimate Distances: Fragments for a Phenomenology of Organ Transplantation. Journal of Consciousness Studies 8 (5-7):259-271.
Mark T. Nelson (1991). The Morality of a Free Market for Transplant Organs. Public Affairs Quarterly 5 (1):63-79.
Fredrik Svenaeus (2010). The Body as Gift, Resource or Commodity? Heidegger and the Ethics of Organ Transplantation. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 7 (2):163-172.
Added to index2010-06-09
Total downloads35 ( #39,282 of 739,345 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #61,538 of 739,345 )
How can I increase my downloads?