Total brain death: A reply to Alan Shewmon

Bioethics 26 (5):275-284 (2012)

Abstract

D. Alan Shewmon has advanced a well-documented challenge to the widely accepted total brain death criterion for death of the human being. We show that Shewmon's argument against this criterion is unsound, though he does refute the standard argument for that criterion. We advance a distinct argument for the total brain death criterion and answer likely objections. Since human beings are rational animals – sentient organisms of a specific type – the loss of the radical capacity for sentience involves a substantial change, the passing away of the human organism. In human beings total brain death involves the complete loss of the radical capacity for sentience, and so in human beings total brain death is death

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Patrick Lee
Franciscan University of Steubenville

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Citations of this work

Cursed Lamp: The Problem of Spontaneous Abortion.William Simkulet - 2017 - Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (11):784-791.
Death, Unity and the Brain.David S. Oderberg - 2019 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 40 (5):359-379.
Are Brain Dead Individuals Dead? Grounds for Reasonable Doubt.E. Christian Brugger - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (3):329-350.
Total Brain Death and the Integration of the Body Required of a Human Being.Patrick Lee - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (3):300-314.
Brain Death, the Soul, and Material Dispositions.Patrick Lee - 2022 - Christian Bioethics 28 (1):41-57.

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