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PHILOSOPHICAL
LITERARY
JOURNAL
ISSN 0869-5377
Author: Madigan Timothy

Madigan Timothy

PhD in Philosophy, Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy and Classical Studies of St. John Fisher College. Address: 3690 East Avenue, Rochester, New York 14618, USA. E-mail: tmadigan@sjfc.edu.

Publications

When a Body Meets a Body: Jeremy Bentham’s Afterlife / Logos. 2015. № 6 (108). P. 105-113
annotation:  The author of this essay reflects on the question of death from an unexpected perspective. The author’s hobby, to visit tombs of philosophers, eventually led him to the “auto-icon,” or Jeremy Bentham’s preserved skeleton dressed in clothes and with a wax head, kept in London University College, What inspired a man to leave his corpse for future generations — narcissism, morbid exhibitionism or an inexplicable fascination with death? All of these questions inspired the author to find out why corpses, zombies, skeletons and other macabre artefacts have always sparked persistent interest among the living. We can trace this interest to so-called body-snatchers who would satisfy the mercantile interests of hospitals and medical colleges. Physicians needed dead bodies for their anatomic studies. But today’s organ-trafficking implies that body-snatching is still alive and well. A distinguishing characteristic of modern times is the unconscious taboo associated with certain topics, including death. But this ban has also triggered universal interest towards the undead. The author argues that our attitude towards the dead is a marker of dignity. The author does not believe in life after death and attempts to follow Bentham’s example and to leave his body to science. However, the author argues that the decision, to leave one’s body to science should be an act of free will.
Keywords:  death; corpse stealer; utilitarianism; plastination

Madigan Timothy

PhD in Philosophy, Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy and Classical Studies of St. John Fisher College. Address: 3690 East Avenue, Rochester, New York 14618, USA. E-mail: tmadigan@sjfc.edu.

Publications

When a Body Meets a Body: Jeremy Bentham’s Afterlife / Logos. 2015. № 6 (108). P. 105-113
annotation:  The author of this essay reflects on the question of death from an unexpected perspective. The author’s hobby, to visit tombs of philosophers, eventually led him to the “auto-icon,” or Jeremy Bentham’s preserved skeleton dressed in clothes and with a wax head, kept in London University College, What inspired a man to leave his corpse for future generations — narcissism, morbid exhibitionism or an inexplicable fascination with death? All of these questions inspired the author to find out why corpses, zombies, skeletons and other macabre artefacts have always sparked persistent interest among the living. We can trace this interest to so-called body-snatchers who would satisfy the mercantile interests of hospitals and medical colleges. Physicians needed dead bodies for their anatomic studies. But today’s organ-trafficking implies that body-snatching is still alive and well. A distinguishing characteristic of modern times is the unconscious taboo associated with certain topics, including death. But this ban has also triggered universal interest towards the undead. The author argues that our attitude towards the dead is a marker of dignity. The author does not believe in life after death and attempts to follow Bentham’s example and to leave his body to science. However, the author argues that the decision, to leave one’s body to science should be an act of free will.
Keywords:  death; corpse stealer; utilitarianism; plastination
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