Who is the most human?

Special report: Frontiers of humanity
The availability of human and animal bodies for organ transplants
By Catherine Rémy

In this paper, the aim is to consider the transplantation of today, all transplantation, and the transplantation of the future, xenotransplantation, that is to say the use of animal organs for human recipients. We focus on two controversies. The first concerns the harvesting of several organs from a young French man who died from a bike accident and the second an attempted xenotransplantation on a dying American baby. If, at first sight, allo- and xeno-transplantation seem radically different practices, the detailed description of these two cases shows a quite different picture. Indeed, it becomes difficult to say who is the most "human": the human being transformed into an objectivized corpse or the humanized and "sacrificed" animal? Through the practice of transplantation, an astonishing new scale of beings emerges.


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