Brain Death, the Soul, and Material Dispositions

Christian Bioethics 28 (1):41-57 (2022)


I defend the position argued previously by Germain Grisez and me that total brain death is a valid criterion of death on the grounds that a human being is essentially a rational animal, and a brain-dead body lacks the radical capacity for rational actions. I reply to Josef Seifert’s objection that our positions rest on a reductionist view of the human person, and to other objections concerning the inter-relation between the human soul, its powers, and functions of the brain. I argue that a brain-dead body lacks the material dispositions needed for having the form or soul of a human being.

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Patrick Lee
Franciscan University of Steubenville

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