Amputees by choice: Body Integrity Identity Disorder and the ethics of amputation

Tim Bayne*, Neil Levy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Should surgeons be permitted to amputate healthy limbs if patients request such operations? We argue that if such patients are experiencing significant distress as a consequence of the rare psychological disorder named Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), such operations might be permissible. We examine rival accounts of the origins of the desire for healthy limb amputations and argue that none are as plausible as the BIID hypothesis. We then turn to the moral arguments against such operations, and argue that on the evidence available, none is compelling. BIID sufferers meet reasonable standards for rationality and autonomy: so as long as no other effective treatment for their disorder is available, surgeons ought to be allowed to accede to their requests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-86
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of applied philosophy
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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