Saturday, November 08, 2008

A new legal puzzle

There's a lot of interesting stuff in this talk by David Friedman, the son of Milton Friedman, but one legal puzzle stood out to me as particularly fun and interesting.

Suppose we have a corpse cryonically frozen to be reanimated when the proper technology arrives that could do so, like Ted Williams. Suppose that there is a new advancement in technology to make reanimation finally feasible in the coming months. Suppose that a family member of the preserved does not want this person to be resuscitated , so they break into the lab and thaw out the body so that it cannot be resuscitated.

Is this person guilty of murder? The person was already dead. How should this be thought of, legally, and ethically? Does a cryonically preserved person just become property? This seems to be a crime more serious than vandalism if it is just property.

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