A Holistic Understanding of Death: Ontological and Medical Considerations

Diametros 55:44-62 (2018)
Doyen Nguyen
Pontifical University Of St. Thoas Aquinas, Rome, Italy (Doctorate)
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 holistic vision of the human person, and coheres with the perennial axiom about the ‘whole and parts.’
Keywords Lockean view  brain death  death  holism  substance view  whole and parts
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DOI 10.13153/diam.1175
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