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Melissa Moschella
Catholic University of America
  1.  13
    The human organism is not a conductorless orchestra: a defense of brain death as true biological death.Melissa Moschella - 2019 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 40 (5):437-453.
    In this paper, I argue that brain death is death because, despite the appearance of genuine integration, the brain-dead body does not in fact possess the unity that is proper to a human organism. A brain-dead body is not a single entity, but a multitude of organs and tissues functioning in a coordinated manner with the help of artificial life support. In order to support this claim, I first lay out Hoffmann and Rosenkrantz’s ontological account of the requirements for organismal (...)
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  2.  25
    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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  3.  51
    Sexual Identity, Gender, and Human Fulfillment: Analyzing the “Middle Way” Between Liberal and Traditionalist Approaches.Melissa Moschella - 2019 - Christian Bioethics 25 (2):192-215.
    In this essay, I outline fundamental anthropological and moral principles related to human sexuality and gender identity and then apply these principles to analyze and evaluate the views of several authors who attempt to carve out a “middle way” between liberal and traditionalist approaches to these issues. In doing so, I engage especially with the claim that gender dysphoria, rather than being a psychological issue, is a type of biological intersex condition in which one’s “brain sex” is out of line (...)
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  4.  38
    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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  5.  40
    The Wrongness of Third-Party Assisted Reproduction: A Natural Law Account.Melissa Moschella - 2016 - Christian Bioethics 22 (2):104-121.
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  6.  37
    Rethinking the Moral Permissibility of Gamete Donation.Melissa Moschella - 2014 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35 (6):421-440.
    The dominant philosophical view of gamete donation as morally permissible rests on two premises: parental obligations are triggered primarily by playing a causal role in procreation, not by genetic ties, and those obligations are transferable—that is, they are obligations to make adequate provision for the child’s needs, not necessarily to raise the child oneself. Thus while gamete donors are indeed agent causes of the children that their donation helps to bring into existence, most think that donors’ obligations are discharged insofar (...)
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  7.  13
    Complexity of Defining Death: Organismal Death Does Not Mean the Cessation of All Biological Life.Melissa Moschella - 2017 - Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (11):754-755.
    Michael Nair-Collins and Franklin Miller are right to emphasise that, in order to deliberate responsibly about ethical and legal questions related to brain death and organ donation, it is crucial to answer the question of whether or not ‘brain death’i does indeed mark the biological death of the organism. Nonetheless, I disagree with the authors’ conclusion that brain death does not indicate the death of the human organism. Death can never be defined in merely biological terms, because any biological conception (...)
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  8.  31
    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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  9.  8
    Brain Death and Organ Donation: A Crisis of Public Trust.Melissa Moschella - 2018 - Christian Bioethics 24 (2):133-150.
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  10.  20
    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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  11.  24
    Gestation Does Not Necessarily Imply Parenthood.Melissa Moschella - 2018 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1):21-48.
    This article defends the morality of heterologous embryo transfer against those who claim that HET is wrong because it makes a woman a mother through someone other than her spouse. I contrast genetic parenthood with gestation to show that gestation alone does not make someone a mother in the focal sense. Genetic parenthood gives rise to the full obligations of parenthood—i.e., makes someone a parent in the focal sense—because the child’s relationship to his genetic parents is permanent, identity-defining, and initially (...)
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  12.  19
    Is Mandatory Autonomy Education in the Best Interests of Children?Melissa Moschella - 2015 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 89:299-310.
    In this paper I argue that liberal proponents of mandatory autonomy education tend to overlook or underestimate the potential threats that such an education poses to the overall well-being of children. They do so by paying insufficient attention to the importance of moral virtue as a constitutive element of and precondition for genuine autonomy, and by failing to recognize how the development and consolidation of moral virtue may be undermined by the sort of autonomy education they recommend. I develop my (...)
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  13.  8
    Kate Greasley and Christopher Kaczor, Abortion Rights: For and Against.Melissa Moschella - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (5):571-574.
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  14.  8
    Sexual Ethics, Human Nature, and the “New” and “Old” Natural Law Theories.Melissa Moschella - 2019 - The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 19 (2):251-278.
    The major difference between “new” and “old” natural law approaches to sexual ethics is that for new natural law theorists the moral evaluation of sex acts is always determined with reference to that basic form of human flourishing which is called marriage; old natural law theorists determine the morality of sex acts also with reference to the natural purpose of the sexual faculties. Ultimately, the old approach relies implicitly on prior value judgments to distinguish biological facts that are axiologically or (...)
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