David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Bioethics 19 (1):29–48 (2005)
ABSTRACTI investigate Thomas Aquinas's metaphysical account of human death, which is defined in terms of a rational soul separating from its material body. The question at hand concerns what criterion best determines when this separation occurs. Aquinas argues that a body has a rational soul only insofar as it is properly organised to support the soul's vegetative, sensitive, and rational capacities. According to the ‘higher‐brain’ concept of death, when a body can no longer provide the biological foundation necessary for the operation of conscious rational thought and volition, a substantial change occurs in which the rational soul departs and the body left behind is a ‘humanoid animal’ or a mere ‘vegetable.’I argue that the separation of soul and body does not occur until the body ceases to function as a unified, integrated organism. A rational soul is not only the seat of a human being's rational capacities; it is also the principle of the body's sensitive and vegetative capacities. Since Aquinas defines a human being as a composite of soul and body, and not with merely the exercise of rational capacities, the determination of death requires incontrovertible evidence that the body has ceased all the operations that correspond to the soul's proper capacities. The evidence of this is the body's loss of its integrative organic unity and the criterion for determining when this loss occurs is the irreversible cessation of whole‐brain functioning
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Jason T. Eberl (2000). The Metaphysics of Resurrection. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 74:215-230.
Rihito Kimura (1991). Japan's Dilemma with the Definition of Death. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 1 (2):123-131.
J. P. Moreland (1995). Humanness, Personhood, and the Right to Die. Faith and Philosophy 12 (1):95-112.
D. Alan Shewmon (2001). The Brain and Somatic Integration: Insights Into the Standard Biological Rationale for Equating Brain Death with Death. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 26 (5):457 – 478.
Stan Wallace (1995). Aquinas Versus Locke and Descartes on the Human Person and End-of-Life Ethics. International Philosophical Quarterly 35 (3):319-330.
Citations of this work BETA
Jan Deckers (2007). Why Eberl is Wrong. Reflections on the Beginning of Personhood. Bioethics 21 (5):270–282.
Similar books and articles
Jason T. Eberl (2009). Do Human Persons Persist Between Death and Resurrection? In Kevin Timpe & Eleonore Stump (eds.), Metaphysics and God: Essays in Honor of Eleonore Stump. Routledge.
Robert C. Koons (2002). Dual Agency: A Thomistic Account of Providence and Human Freedom. Philosophia Christi 4 (2):397-411.
Jason T. Eberl (2008). Potentiality, Possibility, and the Irreversibility of Death. Review of Metaphysics 62 (1):61-77.
Peter Koch (2009). An Alternative to an Alternative to Brain Death. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 83:89-98.
Bernard N. Schumacher (2010). Death and Mortality in Contemporary Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
Jason T. Eberl (2007). A Thomistic Perspective on the Beginning of Personhood: Redux. Bioethics 21 (5):283–289.
Jason T. Eberl (2000). The Beginning of Personhood: A Thomistic Biological Analysis. Bioethics 14 (2):134–157.
Jason T. Eberl (2010). Varieties of Dualism. International Philosophical Quarterly 50 (1):39-56.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads11 ( #194,000 of 1,696,507 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #342,645 of 1,696,507 )
How can I increase my downloads?