Brain Death

Edited by Craig Paterson (Complutense University of Madrid)
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  1. Pragmatism and the Determination of Death.Martin Benjamin - forthcoming - Pragmatic Bioethics:193--206.
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  2. The Medical Determination of Brain Death.E. Byrne - forthcoming - Proceedings of the 1984 Conference on Bioethics, Melbourne.
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  3. Death, Definition and Determination Of: II. Legal Issues in Pronouncing Death.Alexander Morgan Capron - forthcoming - Encyclopedia of Bioethics.
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  4. Organ Donation and Declaration of Death: Combined Neurologic and Cardiopulmonary Standards.Stephen E. Doran & Joseph Michael Vukov - forthcoming - The Linacre Quarterly 86.
    Prolonged survival after the declaration of death by neurologic criteria creates ambiguity regarding the validity of this methodology. This ambiguity has perpetuated the debate among secular and nondissenting Catholic authors who question whether the neurologic standards are sufficient for the declaration of death of organ donors. Cardiopulmonary criteria are being increasingly used for organ donors who do not meet brain death standards. However, cardiopulmonary criteria are plagued by conflict of interest issues, arbitrary standards for candidacy, and the lack of standardized (...)
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  5. Death, Definition and Determination Of: III. Philosophical and Theological Perspectives.Karen G. Gervais - forthcoming - Encyclopedia of Bioethics.
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  6. What It Is To Die.Cody Gilmore - forthcoming - In Michael Cholbi & Travis Timmerman (eds.), Exploring the Philosophy of Death and Dying. New York: Routledge.
    A defense of the view that (i) to be alive is to be actively undergoing (not merely capable of undergoing) certain vital processes, that (ii) to die is cease to be capable of undergoing those processes (not to cease undergoing them), and that (iii) organisms in cryptobiosis (suspended animation) are not undergoing those processes but are capable of doing so, and are neither alive nor dead.
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  7. Brain Death as the End of a Human Organism as a Self-Moving Whole.Adam Omelianchuk - forthcoming - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy.
    The biophilosophic justification for the idea that “brain death” (or total brain failure) is death needs to support two claims: (1) that what dies in human death is a human organism, not merely a psychological entity distinct from it; (2) that total brain failure signifies the end of the human organism as a whole. Defenders of brain death typically assume without argument the first claim is true and argue for the second by defending the “integrative unity” rationale. Yet the integrative (...)
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  8. It is Reasonable to Reject the Diagnosis of Brain Death.Robert Truog & James Fackler - forthcoming - The Journal of Ethics.
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  9. Whole-Brain and Neocortical Definitions of Death.R. M. Veatch - forthcoming - Bioethics. New York: Harcourt Brace.
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  10. Double Effect Donation.Charles Camosy & Joseph Vukov - 2021 - The Linacre Quarterly 88 (2):149-162.
    Double Effect Donation claims it is permissible for a person meeting brain death criteria to donate vital organs, even though such a person may be alive. The reason this act is permissible is that it does not aim at one’s own death but rather at saving the lives of others, and because saving the lives of others constitutes a proportionately serious reason for engaging in a behavior in which one foresees one’s death as the outcome. Double Effect Donation, we argue, (...)
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  11. Restoring Trust and Requiring Consent in Death by Neurological Criteria.L. Syd M. Johnson - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics 20 (6):33-35.
    Volume 20, Issue 6, June 2020, Page 33-35.
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  12. Brain Death: What We Are and When We Die.Lukas Meier - 2020 - Dissertation, University of St. Andrews
    When does a human being cease to exist? For millennia, the answer to this question had remained largely unchanged: death had been diagnosed when heartbeat and breathing were permanently absent. Only comparatively recently, in the 1950s, rapid developments in intensive-care medicine called into question this widely accepted criterion. What had previously been deemed a permanent cessation of vital functions suddenly became reversible. -/- A new criterion of death was needed. It was suggested that the destruction of the brain could indicate (...)
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  13. The Demise of Brain Death.Lukas J. Meier - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:000-000.
    Fifty years have passed since brain death was first proposed as a criterion of death. Its advocates believe that with the destruction of the brain, integrated functioning ceases irreversibly, somatic unity dissolves, and the organism turns into a corpse. In this article, I put forward two objections against this assertion. First, I draw parallels between brain death and other pathological conditions and argue that whenever one regards the absence or the artificial replacement of a certain function in these pathological conditions (...)
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  14. Death Determination and Clinicians’ Epistemic Authority.David Rodríguez-Arias, Alberto Molina-Pérez & Gonzalo Díaz-Cobacho - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics 20 (6):44-47.
    Requiring family authorization for apnea testing subtracts health professionals control over death determination, a procedure that has traditionally been considered a matter of clinical expertise alone. In this commentary, we first provide evidence showing that health professionals’ (HPs) disposition to act on death determination without family’s prior consent could be much lower than that referred to by Berkowitz and Garrett (2020). We hypothesize that HPs may have reservations about their own expertise as regards death, and may thus hesitate to impose (...)
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  15. Philosophische Überlegungen Zu Hirntod Und Organspende.Ralf Stoecker - 2019 - In S. M. Probst (ed.), Hirntod und Organspende aus interkultureller Sicht. Leipzig, Deutschland: Hentrich & Hentrich Verlag. pp. 85-101.
    Tod und Sterblichkeit sind Themen, die die Menschen seit Menschengedenken beschäftigt haben. Davon zeugen jahrtausendealte Grabstätten wie beispielsweise die in Stonehenge, aber auch vielfältige künstlerische Werke. Schon eines der ersten bekannten Bücher der Menschheit überhaupt, dass Gilgamesch-Epos, thematisiert die Angst vor dem Sterben und die Hoffnung auf Unsterblichkeit. Tod und Sterblichkeit waren auch schon immer zentrale Themen der Philosophie. Philosophen haben sich die Köpfe darüber zerbrochen, ob es ein Leben nach dem Tod gibt, wie man am besten damit umgehen sollte, (...)
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  16. Re A and the United Kingdom Code of Practice for the Diagnosis and Confirmation of Death: Should a Secular Construct of Death Override Religious Values in a Pluralistic Society?Kartina A. Choong & Mohamed Y. Rady - 2018 - HEC Forum 30 (1):71-89.
    The determination of death by neurological criteria remains controversial scientifically, culturally, and legally, worldwide. In the United Kingdom, although the determination of death by neurological criteria is not legally codified, the Code of Practice of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges is customarily used for neurological death determination and treatment withdrawal. Unlike some states in the US, however, there are no provisions under the law requiring accommodation of and respect for residents' religious rights and commitments when secular conceptions of death (...)
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  17. Defining Death: Beyond Biology.John P. Lizza - 2018 - Diametros 55:1-19.
    The debate over whether brain death is death has focused on whether individuals who have sustained total brain failure have satisfied the biological definition of death as “the irreversible loss of the integration of the organism as a whole.” In this paper, I argue that what it means for an organism to be integrated “as a whole” is undefined and vague in the views of those who attempt to define death as the irreversible loss of the integration of the organism (...)
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  18. In Defense of Brain Death: Replies to Don Marquis, Michael Nair-Collins, Doyen Nguyen, and Laura Specker Sullivan.John P. Lizza - 2018 - Diametros 55:68-90.
    In this paper, I defend brain death as a criterion for determining death against objections raised by Don Marquis, Michael Nair-Collins, Doyen Nguyen, and Laura Specker Sullivan. I argue that any definition of death for beings like us relies on some sortal concept by which we are individuated and identified and that the choice of that concept in a practical context is not determined by strictly biological considerations but involves metaphysical, moral, social, and cultural considerations. This view supports acceptance of (...)
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  19. Death is a Biological Phenomenon.Don Marquis - 2018 - Diametros 55:20-26.
    John Lizza says that to define death well, we must go beyond biological considerations. Death is the absence of life in an entity that was once alive. Biology is the study of life. Therefore, the definition of death should not involve non-biological concerns.
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  20. Śmierć mózgowa – zmiana w rozumieniu człowieka?Jacek Meller - 2018 - Diametros 56:151-156.
    Review of the book: Człowiek na granicy istnienia. Dyskusje o śmierci mózgowej i innych aspektach umierania, Grzegorz Hołub, Piotr Duchliński, Akademia Ignatianum w Krakowie, Wydawnictwo WAM, Kraków 2017.
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  21. A Biological Theory of Death: Characterization, Justification, and Implications.Michael Nair-Collins - 2018 - Diametros 55:27-43.
    John P. Lizza has long been a major figure in the scholarly literature on criteria for death. His searching and penetrating critiques of the dominant biological paradigm, and his defense of a theory of death of the person as a psychophysical entity, have both significantly advanced the literature. In this special issue, Lizza reinforces his critiques of a strictly biological approach. In my commentary, I take up Lizza’s challenge regarding a biological concept of death. He is certainly right to point (...)
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  22. A Holistic Understanding of Death: Ontological and Medical Considerations.Doyen Nguyen - 2018 - Diametros 55:44-62.
    In the ongoing ‘brain death’ controversy, there has been a constant push for the use of the ‘higher brain’ formulation as the criterion for the determination of death on the grounds that brain-dead individuals are no longer human beings because of their irreversible loss of consciousness and mental functions. This essay demonstrates that such a position flows from a Lockean view of human persons. Compared to the ‘consciousness-related definition of death,’ the substance view is superior, especially because it provides a (...)
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  23. Authenticity, Insight and Impaired Decision-Making Capacity in Acquired Brain Injury.Gareth S. Owen, Fabian Freyenhagen & Wayne Martin - 2018 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 25 (1):29-32.
    Thanks to Barton Palmer and John McMillan for these thoughtful commentaries. We found much to agree with and it is striking how so many of the issues relating to decision-making capacity assessment find resonances outside of an English jurisdiction. California and New Zealand are clearly grappling with a very similar set of issues and the commentaries speak to the international nature of these discussions.We will pick up on some main points the commentaries raise.As Palmer notes, DMC law is vulnerable to (...)
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  24. Reply: Conscientious Objection to Deceased Organ Donation by Healthcare Professionals.Michal Pruski & Toni C. Saad - 2018 - Journal of the Intensive Care Society 19 (4):NP1.
    Here we respond to Shaw et al., and show why the application of Conscientious Objection cannot be dismissed from cases of organ donation, where the donor is presumed to be dead.
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  25. What Does a Definition of Death Do?Laura Specker Sullivan - 2018 - Diametros 55:63-67.
    In his article, “Defining Death: Beyond Biology,” John Lizza argues in favor of a civil definition of death, according to which the potential for consciousness and social interaction marks us as the “kind of being that we are.” In this commentary, I critically discuss this approach to the bioethical debate on the definition of death. I question whether Lizza’s account is based on a full recognition of the “practical, moral, religious, philosophical, and cultural considerations” at play in this debate. I (...)
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  26. The Brain Dead Patient Is Still Sentient: A Further Reply to Patrick Lee and Germain Grisez.Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (3):315-328.
    Patrick Lee and Germain Grisez have argued that the total brain dead patient is still dead because the integrated entity that remains is not even an animal, not only because he is not sentient but also, and more importantly, because he has lost the radical capacity for sentience. In this essay, written from within and as a contribution to the Catholic philosophical tradition, I respond to Lee and Grisez’s argument by proposing that the brain dead patient is still sentient because (...)
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  27. Are Brain Dead Individuals Dead? Grounds for Reasonable Doubt.E. Christian Brugger - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (3):329-350.
    According to the biological definition of death, a human body that has not lost the capacity to holistically organize itself is the body of a living human individual. Reasonable doubt against the conclusion that it has lost the capacity exists when the body appears to express it and no evidence to the contrary is sufficient to rule out reasonable doubt against the conclusion that the apparent expression is a true expression. This essay argues that the evidence and arguments against the (...)
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  28. Determination of Death: A Scientific Perspective on Biological Integration.Maureen L. Condic - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (3):257-278.
    Human life is operationally defined by the onset and cessation of organismal function. At postnatal stages of life, organismal integration critically and uniquely requires a functioning brain. In this article, a distinction is drawn between integrated and coordinated biologic activities. While communication between cells can provide a coordinated biologic response to specific signals, it does not support the integrated function that is characteristic of a living human being. Determining the loss of integrated function can be complicated by medical interventions that (...)
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  29. A Defense of Brain Death.Nada Gligorov - 2016 - Neuroethics 9 (2):119-127.
    In 1959 two French neurologists, Pierre Mollaret and Maurice Goullon, coined the term coma dépassé to designate a state beyond coma. In this state, patients are not only permanently unconscious; they lack the endogenous drive to breathe, as well as brainstem reflexes, indicating that most of their brain has ceased to function. Although legally recognized in many countries as a criterion for death, brain death has not been universally accepted by bioethicists, by the medical community, or by the public. I (...)
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  30. Neuroethics and the Scientific Revision of Common Sense.Nada Gligorov - 2016 - Springer, Studies in Brain and Mind, Vol. 11.
    Neuroethics is an emerging interdisciplinary field with unsettled boundaries. Many of the ethical issues within the purview of neuroethics could be described as resulting from the clash between the scientific perspective on concepts such as free will, personal identity, consciousness, etc., and the putatively commonsense conceptions of those terms. The assumption that undergirds the framing of the conflict between these two approaches is that advances in neuroscience, psychiatry, and psychology can be used to explain phenomena covered by commonsense concepts and (...)
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  31. Medicalization of the Post-Museum: Interactivity and Diagnosis at the Brain and Cognition Exhibit.David R. Gruber - 2016 - Journal of Medical Humanities 37 (1):65-80.
    The introduction of digital games and simulations into science museums has prompted excitement about a new "post-museum" pedagogy emphasizing egalitarianism, interactivity, and personalized approaches to learning. However, many post-museums of science, this article aims to show, enact rhetorical performances that lead visitors to narrowly targeted answers and hide the authority of the expert in a play of tactile and affective activities, thus operating in opposition to many of the basic ideals of the post-museum. The Brain and Cognition Exhibit at the (...)
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  32. “Reasonable Availability” Criterion Remains Salient.Bridget Gabrielle Haire - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics 16 (6):19-21.
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  33. The Case for Reasonable Accommodation of Conscientious Objections to Declarations of Brain Death.L. Syd M. Johnson - 2016 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 13 (1):105-115.
    Since its inception in 1968, the concept of whole-brain death has been contentious, and four decades on, controversy concerning the validity and coherence of whole-brain death continues unabated. Although whole-brain death is legally recognized and medically entrenched in the United States and elsewhere, there is reasonable disagreement among physicians, philosophers, and the public concerning whether brain death is really equivalent to death as it has been traditionally understood. A handful of states have acknowledged this plurality of viewpoints and enacted “conscience (...)
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  34. Editor's Note.Rebecca Kukla - 2016 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 26 (4):vii-viii.
    Bioethicists have, of course, always been concerned with death: we have asked when should we allow it to happen without trying to stave it off any longer; whether is it ever acceptable for doctors to hasten or cause it; how can we make death a dignified and relatively humane experience for the dying and for their loved ones; and how we can and cannot treat human remains. We discussed all of these classic ethical issues even when death itself seemed to (...)
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  35. Total Brain Death and the Integration of the Body Required of a Human Being.Patrick Lee - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (3):300-314.
    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 (...)
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  36. Is Brain Death Death?Lukas J. Meier - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    For hundreds of years, death had been defined by cardiopulmonary criteria. When heart and respiratory functions were permanently absent, doctors declared their patients dead. Three developments in intensive care medicine called into question these widely-accepted criteria, however: the advent of positive pressure ventilation and the promotion of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, both in the early 1950s, and the first successful heart transplantation in 1967. What had previously been diagnosed as the permanent absence of vital functions, suddenly became reversible. Not only could doctors (...)
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  37. Re-Examining the Origin and Application of Determination of Death by Neurological Criteria : A Commentary on “The Case for Reasonable Accommodation of Conscientious Objections to Declarations of Brain Death” by L. Syd M. Johnson.Geoffrey Miller - 2016 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 13 (1):27-29.
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  38. Brain Death and Human Organismal Integration: A Symposium on the Definition of Death.Melissa Moschella - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (3):229-236.
    Does the ability of some brain dead bodies to maintain homeostasis with the help of artificial life support actually imply that those bodies are living human organisms? Or might it be possible that a brain dead body on life support is a mere collection of still-living cells, organs and tissues which can coordinate with one another, but which lack the genuine integration that is the hallmark of a unified human organism as a whole? To foster further study of these difficult (...)
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  39. Deconstructing the Brain Disconnection–Brain Death Analogy and Clarifying the Rationale for the Neurological Criterion of Death.Melissa Moschella - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (3):279-299.
    This article explains the problems with Alan Shewmon’s critique of brain death as a valid sign of human death, beginning with a critical examination of his analogy between brain death and severe spinal cord injury. The article then goes on to assess his broader argument against the necessity of the brain for adult human organismal integration, arguing that he fails to translate correctly from biological to metaphysical claims. Finally, on the basis of a deeper metaphysical analysis, I offer a revised (...)
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  40. Integrated But Not Whole? Applying an Ontological Account of Human Organismal Unity to the Brain Death Debate.Melissa Moschella - 2016 - Bioethics 30 (8):550-556.
    As is clear in the 2008 report of the President's Council on Bioethics, the brain death debate is plagued by ambiguity in the use of such key terms as ‘integration’ and ‘wholeness’. Addressing this problem, I offer a plausible ontological account of organismal unity drawing on the work of Hoffman and Rosenkrantz, and then apply that account to the case of brain death, concluding that a brain dead body lacks the unity proper to a human organism, and has therefore undergone (...)
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  41. Symposium on the Definition of Death: Summary Statement.Melissa Moschella & Maureen L. Condic - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (3):351-361.
    This statement summarizes the conclusions of the Symposium on the Definition of Death, held at The Catholic University of America in June 2014. After providing the background and context for contemporary debates about brain death and describing the aims of the symposium, the statement notes points of unanimous and broad agreement among the participants, and highlights areas for further study.
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  42. Informed Consent for the Diagnosis of Brain Death: A Conceptual Argument.Osamu Muramoto - 2016 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 11:8.
    BackgroundThis essay provides an ethical and conceptual argument for the use of informed consent prior to the diagnosis of brain death. It is meant to enable the family to make critical end-of-life decisions, particularly withdrawal of life support system and organ donation, before brain death is diagnosed, as opposed to the current practice of making such decisions after the diagnosis of death. The recent tragic case of a 13-year-old brain-dead patient in California who was maintained on a ventilator for over (...)
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  43. Determination of Death and the Dead Donor Rule: A Survey of the Current Law on Brain Death.Nikolas T. Nikas, Dorinda C. Bordlee & Madeline Moreira - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (3):237-256.
    Despite seeming uniformity in the law, end-of-life controversies have highlighted variations among state brain death laws and their interpretation by courts. This article provides a survey of the current legal landscape regarding brain death in the United States, for the purpose of assisting professionals who seek to formulate or assess proposals for changes in current law and hospital policy. As we note, the public is increasingly wary of the role of organ transplantation in determinations of death, and of the variability (...)
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  44. Legal Standards for Brain Death and Undue Influence in Euthanasia Laws.Thaddeus Mason Pope & Michaela E. Okninski - 2016 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 13 (2):173-178.
    A major appellate court decision from the United States seriously questions the legal sufficiency of prevailing medical criteria for the determination of death by neurological criteria. There may be a mismatch between legal and medical standards for brain death, requiring the amendment of either or both. In South Australia, a Bill seeks to establish a legal right for a defined category of persons suffering unbearably to request voluntary euthanasia. However, an essential criterion of a voluntary decision is that it is (...)
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  45. Brain Death: Do We Know Enough?Nancy Valko - 2016 - The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 16 (1):55-59.
    Every year, people make decisions based on trust in the certainty of diagnoses of brain death. These decisions range from signing an organ donation card to withdrawing life support from a loved one. Two recent developments have revived concerns about medical standards for determining brain death. One is a recent study on variability in brain death policies in the United States; the other is the filing of a federal lawsuit to rescind the death certificate of Jahi McMath, a teenager who (...)
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  46. Frankenstein’s Brain: “The Final Touch”.Fernando Vidal - 2016 - Substance 45 (2):88-117.
    From the classic Frankenstein of 1931 to Matrix, which offers a version of the philosophical fable of the brain in a vat and on to Self/less, in which the consciousness of a dying tycoon is transferred to a younger man’s body, cinema has variously explored the relationship between personhood and the body by means of fictions concerning the brain and its contents.1 From the crude disembodied brains of 1950s B-movies to the neuroimaging visuals of 21st-century cyberpunk, these films localize individuality (...)
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  47. Alla fine della vita: bioetica e medicina alla ricerca di un confine [At the end of life: bioethics and medicine looking for a boundary].Rosangela Barcaro - 2015 - Laboratorio dell’ISPF.
    Bioethics, neuroscience, medicine are contributing to a debate on the definition and criteria of death. This topic is very controversial, and it demonstrates clashing views on the meaning of human life and death. Official medical and legal positions agree upon a biological definition of death as irreversible cessation of integrated functioning of the organism as a whole, and whole-brain criterion to ascertain death. These positions have to face many criticisms: some scholars speak of logical and practical inconsistency, some others of (...)
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  48. Harmonizing Standards for Death Determination in DCDD.James L. Bernat - 2015 - American Journal of Bioethics 15 (8):10-12.
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  49. Death Perception: How Temporary Ventilator Disconnection Helped My Family Accept Brain Death and Donate Organs.Thomas B. Freeman - 2015 - Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics 5 (1):9-12.
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  50. Being-Towards-Death and Owning One's Judgment.Denis McManus - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (2):245-272.
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