On the ordinary concept of death

Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (2):109-122 (2010)
What is death? The question is of wide-ranging practical importance because we need to be able to distinguish the living from the dead in order to treat both appropriately; specifically, the permissibility of retrieving vital organs for transplantation depends upon the potential donor's ontological status. There is a well-established and influential biological definition of death as irreversible breakdown in the functioning of the organism as a whole, but it continues to elicit disquiet and rejoinders. The central claims of this paper are that the best way to address the question as to what death is, is to attend closely to our ordinary concept of death; doing so reveals that, whilst our ordinary understanding accommodates the biological definition, it also includes the thought that, for someone who has died, there will never again be anything it is like to be that person. Support for these claims is provided, and their academic and practical implications traced. The important practical implication is that we are left in quandary as to whether certain potential organ donors — for example, anencephalic babies and the permanently vegetative — are dead, a quandary that has serious implications for the relevance of the dead donor rule in transplant ethics
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1468-5930.2010.00478.x
 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
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,777
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

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Death Revisited: Rethinking Death and the Dead Donor Rule.A. S. Iltis & M. J. Cherry - 2010 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 35 (3):223-241.
The Dead Donor Rule: Can It Withstand Critical Scrutiny?F. G. Miller, R. D. Truog & D. W. Brock - 2010 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 35 (3):299-312.
The Dead Donor Rule: Lessons From Linguistics.D. Alan Shewmon - 2004 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 14 (3):277-300.
Reconsidering the Dead Donor Rule: Is It Important That Organ Donors Be Dead?Norman Fost - 2004 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 14 (3):249-260.
Abandon the Dead Donor Rule or Change the Definition of Death?Robert M. Veatch - 2004 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 14 (3):261-276.
Reevaluating the Dead Donor Rule.Mike Collins - 2010 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 35 (2):1-26.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

100 ( #51,369 of 2,177,988 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #317,698 of 2,177,988 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums