One or Two: An Examination of the Recent Case of the Conjoined Twins from Malta
Barilan (Y. Michael)
Source: Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Feb. 2003, 28.1, pp. 27-44
Paper - Abstract

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Author's Abstract

  1. The article questions the assumption that conjoined1 twins2 are necessarily two people or persons by employing arguments based on different points of view:
    → non-personal vitalism,
    → the person as a sentient being,
    → the person as an agent,
    → the person as a locus of narrative3 and valuation, and
    → the person as an embodied mind.
  2. Analogies employed from the cases of
    → amputation,
    multiple personality disorder4,
    split-brain patients6 and
  3. The article further questions the assumption that a conjoined twin8's natural interest and wish is separation.
  4. I first contend that separation is such a radical procedure as to render the post-separation person different from the per-separation one. Therefore, it is not possible to benefit the pre-separation twin by the act of separation.
  5. The article concludes with a critical evaluation of the tendency in bioethics to regard ethical challenges as rivalry between individuals competing for scarce resources.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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