© 2021 Martynov I. A.

2021 – № 1 (21)

Citation link:

Martynov I. A. (2021). Samaritjanin i kannibal: psihoanaliticheskaja biojetika transplantacii organov [Samaritan and Cannibal: Psychoanalytic Bioethics of Organs Transplantation]. Medicinskaja antropologija i biojetika [Medical Anthropology and Bioethics], 1 (21).

Author info:

Innokenty Martynov, Psychology MA, is a psychoanalyst and Intern Researcher at the Center for Medical Anthropology, Mikluho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology (Moscow).

Keywords: bioethics, transplantology, psychoanalysis, desire, body, embodiment, the Other

Abstract. The text reviews the latest work by the Dutch philosopher Hub Zwart, Purloined Organs: Psychoanalysis of Transplant Organs as Objects of Desire. Zwart builds his argument upon the observation that in the heart of transplantology there is a conflict of two discourses – biomedical and “Samaritan’s” ones – which leads to considerable ontological implications. Biomedicine gets the human body engaged in extensive symbolization, which conditions significant transformation of bodily self-perception by the human. According to Zwart, one symptom of modernity is affirmation of (Lacan’s) symbolic body. Despite the intuitive character of the concept, one cannot but notice certain inconsistencies. The review’s author assumes that those were primarily caused by Zwart’s literalization of Lacan’s desire formulas. This, in turn, leads to certain confusion: Zwart’s ideas are caught up between the hammer and the anvil of the symbolic and the imaginary Other – so we cannot always distinguish one from another.


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Zwart, H. A. E. (2019) Purloined Organs: Psychoanalysis of Transplant Organs as Objects of Desire. Springer.