Adam Omelianchuk
Stanford University
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 unity rationale has fallen on hard times. In this paper, I give reasons for why we should think of ourselves as organisms, and why the “fundamental work” rationale put forward by the 2008 President’s Council is better than the integrative unity rationale despite persistent objections to it.
Keywords brain death  definition of death  philosophy of biology
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

An Alternative to Brain Death.Jeff McMahan - 2006 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 34 (1):44-48.
The Whole-Brain Concept of Death Remains Optimum Public Policy.James L. Bernat - 2006 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 34 (1):35-43.
Analytic Philosophy And Death: Brain Death And Personal Identity.Maurizio Salvi - 1996 - Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 6 (5):123-124.
Brain Death and the US President's Council on Bioethics.Kevin McGovern - 2009 - Chisholm Health Ethics Bulletin 14 (4):9.
Current Debate on the Ethical Issues of Brain Death.Masahiro Morioka - 2004 - Proceedings of International Congress on Ethical Issues in Brain Death and Organ Transplantation:57-59.
The Conservative Use of the Brain-Death Criterion – a Critique.Tom Tomlinson - 1984 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 9 (4):377-394.
Whole-Brain Death Reconsidered.A. Browne - 1983 - Journal of Medical Ethics 9 (1):28-44.


Added to PP index

Total views
159 ( #64,424 of 2,439,610 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
44 ( #16,452 of 2,439,610 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes