David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 26 (5):527 – 537 (2001)
Since the Harvard Committees bold and highly successful attempt to redefine death in 1968 (Harvard Ad Hoc committee, 1968), multiple controversies have arisen. Stimulated by several factors, including the inherent conceptual weakness of the Harvard Committees proposal, accumulated clinical experience, and the incessant push to expand the pool of potential organ donors, the lively debate about the definition of death has, for the most part, been confined to a relatively small group of academics who have created a large body of literature of which this issue of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy is an example. Law and public policy, however, have remained essentially unaffected. This paper will briefly review the multiple controversies about defining death in an attempt to explain why they have and will remain unresolved in the academic community and have even less chance of being understood and resolved by politicians, legislators, and the general public. Considering this, we will end by suggesting the probable course of public policy and clinical practice in the decades ahead.
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David Rodríguez-Arias, Maxwell J. Smith & Neil M. Lazar (2011). Donation After Circulatory Death: Burying the Dead Donor Rule. American Journal of Bioethics 11 (8):36-43.
Robert M. Veatch (2005). The Death of Whole-Brain Death: The Plague of the Disaggregators, Somaticists, and Mentalists. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (4):353 – 378.
D. A. Shewmon (2010). Constructing the Death Elephant: A Synthetic Paradigm Shift for the Definition, Criteria, and Tests for Death. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 35 (3):256-298.
J. M. Dubois (2010). The Ethics of Creating and Responding to Doubts About Death Criteria. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 35 (3):365-380.
Joseph A. Raho & Guido Miccinesi (2015). Contesting the Equivalency of Continuous Sedation Until Death and Physician-Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia: A Commentary on LiPuma. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 40 (5):529-553.
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