The conservative use of the brain-death criterion – a critique

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 9 (4):377-394 (1984)
The whole brain-death criterion of death now enjoys a wide acceptance both within the medical profession and among the general public. That acceptance is in large part the product of the contention that brain death is the proper criterion for even a conservative definition of death – the irreversible loss of the integrated functioning of the organism as a whole. This claim – most recently made in the report of the Presidential Commission and in a comprehensive article by James Bernat and others – is based upon a series of fallacious arguments. Chief among these is the argument that whole brain-death is the proper criterion for the conservative definition because the brain is the organ that integrates the rest of the organism. A central part of the paper shows that this argument rests upon a confusion between a function and the mechanism that performs it, and replies to the defenses that the Presidential Commission makes on this point. The concluding portion of the paper argues that this issue is not merely of academic interest, but has the potential for undermining the present consensus that supports the use of whole brain-death criteria. * Keywords: brain-death, definition of death, determination of death * I would like to thank Howard Brody and Bruce Miller for helpful suggestions and criticisms. CiteULike Connotea What's this?
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/jmp/9.4.377
 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
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,392
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
Mike Collins (2010). Reevaluating the Dead Donor Rule. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 35 (2):1-26.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

20 ( #232,631 of 1,924,699 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #417,767 of 1,924,699 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.