Whole-Body/Head Transplantation : Personal Identity, Experimental Surgery, and Bioethics

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsEditorial Preface

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-188
Number of pages10
Journal / PublicationJournal of Medicine and Philosophy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


This issue of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy brings together an international group of scholars from Hong Kong, Mainland China, and North America, critically to explore whole-body/head transplantation. The proposed procedure raises significant philosophical, ethical, and social/political questions. For example, assuming transplant is successful, who survives the surgery? Does personal identity necessarily follow the head? The contributors to this special thematic issue explore the nature and ground of personal identity, what it would mean to preserve personal identity, given such a significant set of physical changes, as well as the morality of such a procedure. As the authors make clear, careful conceptual philosophical analysis is essential for understanding whether whole-body/head transplantation is a life-saving/life-enhancing technological innovation, or a bioethical morass that should not be attempted. How we come to terms with such conceptual and moral concerns will have a significant impact on the future of medicine and medical technological innovation.

Research Area(s)

  • head transplantation, personal identity, research ethics, whole-body transplantation, ENLIGHTENMENT, ROOTS