Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (3):300-314 (2016)

Patrick Lee
Franciscan University of Steubenville
I develop and refine an argument for the total brain death criterion of death previously advanced by Germain Grisez and me: A human being is essentially a rational animal, and so must have a radical capacity for rational operations. For rational animals, conscious sensation is a pre-requisite for rational operation. But total brain death results in the loss of the radical capacity for conscious sensation, and so also for rational operations. Hence, total brain death constitutes a substantial change—the ceasing to be of the human being. Objections are considered, including the objection that total brain death need not result in the loss of capacity for sensation, and that damage to the brain less than total brain death can result in loss of capacity for rational operations
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/jhw005
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