Introduction, 'After We Die: The Life and Times of the Human Cadaver'

AFTER WE DIE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE HUMAN CADAVER, Introduction, Washington, D.C., Georgetown University Press, 2010

Rutgers School of Law-Newark Research Paper No. 085

11 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2010  

Norman L. Cantor

Rutgers University School of Law

Date Written: November 1, 2010

Abstract

This new book presents more than you thought you wanted to know about the handling of human remains. After We Die (AWD) not only chronicles a cadaver's physical state during various forms of disposal, it also discusses a cadaver's legal and moral status.

AWD details who controls the fate of human remains and the applicable legal bounds. Control of a cadaver is explored with regard not only to mode and place of disposition of remains, but also to use of cadaveric body parts in education, research, tissue transplant, and procreation. AWD ascribes enforceable rights to the insentient cadaver, not just to survivors reacting to what is happening to a corpse. One such right is to have a decedent's prior choices upheld; AWD urges advance planning toward enhancing the impact of a life via productive cadaver roles in medical education, research, and tissue transplant. AWD also discusses proposals for increasing cadaveric organ supplies, including a presumed consent regime.

As to moral standing of cadavers, AWD analyzes the quasi-human status attributed to remains and the protections therefore accorded to cadavers. The book reflects on the limits that post-mortem human dignity poses on disposal choices by either a decedent or an agent entitled to make final dispositions. Is it intrinsically disrespectful to exploit human remains in public educational displays, in artistic settings, or for utilitarian purposes as in furniture or clothes?

This posting to SSRN provides the Introduction to AWD.

Keywords: Death & Dying, Cadavers

Suggested Citation

Cantor, Norman L., Introduction, 'After We Die: The Life and Times of the Human Cadaver' (November 1, 2010). AFTER WE DIE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE HUMAN CADAVER, Introduction, Washington, D.C., Georgetown University Press, 2010; Rutgers School of Law-Newark Research Paper No. 085. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1709348

Norman L. Cantor (Contact Author)

Rutgers University School of Law ( email )

NJ
United States
201-653-4547 (Phone)

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