The problematic symmetry between brain birth and brain death

Journal of Medical Ethics 24 (4):237-242 (1998)
The possible symmetry between the concepts of brain death and brain birth (life) is explored. Since the symmetry argument has tended to overlook the most appropriate definition of brain death, the fundamental concepts of whole brain death and higher brain death are assessed. In this way, a context is provided for a discussion of brain birth. Different writers have placed brain birth at numerous points: 25-40 days, eight weeks, 22-24 weeks, and 32-36 weeks gestation. For others, the concept itself is open to question. Apart from this, it needs to be asked whether a unitary concept is an oversimplification. The merits of defining two stages of brain birth, to parallel the two definitions of brain death, are discussed. An attempt is then made to map these various stages of brain birth and brain death onto a developmental continuum. Although the results hold biological interest, their ethical significance is less evident. Development and degeneration are not interchangeable, and definitions of death apply specifically to those who are dying, not those who are developing. I conclude that while a dual concept of brain death has proved helpful, a dual concept of brain birth still has problems, and the underlying concept of brain birth itself continues to be elusive
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1136/jme.24.4.237
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,774
External links
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Winston Chiong (2005). Brain Death Without Definitions. Hastings Center Report 35 (6):20-30.
Douglas N. Walton (1981). Epistemology of Brain Death Determination. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 2 (3):259-274.
Masahiro Morioka (2004). Current Debate on the Ethical Issues of Brain Death. Proceedings of International Congress on Ethical Issues in Brain Death and Organ Transplantation:57-59.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

47 ( #72,817 of 1,727,294 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

43 ( #26,673 of 1,727,294 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.