Document Detail

The metaphysics of brain death.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11653058     Owner:  KIE     Status:  MEDLINE    
The dominant conception of brain death as the death of the whole brain constitutes an unstable compromise between the view that a person ceases to exist when she irreversibly loses the capacity for consciousness and the view that a human organism dies only when it ceases to function in an integrated way. I argue that no single criterion of death captures the importance we attribute both to the loss of the capacity for consciousness and to the loss of functioning of the organism as a whole. This is because the person or self is one thing and the human organism is another. We require a separate account of death for each. Only if we systematically distinguish between persons and human organisms will we be able to provide plausible accounts both of the conditions of our ceasing to exist and of when it is that we begin to exist. This paper, in short, argues for a form of mind-body dualism and draws out some of its implications for various practical moral problems.
Jeff McMahan
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Bioethics     Volume:  9     ISSN:  0269-9702     ISO Abbreviation:  Bioethics     Publication Date:  1995 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1995-12-21     Completed Date:  1995-12-21     Revised Date:  2007-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8704792     Medline TA:  Bioethics     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  91-126     Citation Subset:  E    
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MeSH Terms
Beginning of Human Life
Brain Death*
Brain Diseases
Brain Injuries
Embryo, Mammalian
Euthanasia, Active
Euthanasia, Passive
Persistent Vegetative State
Self Concept

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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