Conceptual issues in the definition of death: A guide for public policy

Current medical and legal literature generally favors a definition of death based on total cessation of brain functioning. It does not, however, supply the reasoning for this recommendation. None of the arguments for whole-brain death is convincing; there exists, however, a satisfactory rationale for identifying death with cortical death. Policymakers should refrain from endorsing any of these arguments, focussing instead on the pragmatic tasks involved in guiding medical care at the end of life.
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