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Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 259–277 | Cite as

Realigning the Neural Paradigm for Death

  • Denis LarriveeEmail author
  • Michele Farisco
Original Research

Abstract

Whole brain failure constitutes the diagnostic criterion for death determination in most clinical settings across the globe. Yet the conceptual foundation for its adoption was slow to emerge, has evoked extensive scientific debate since inception, underwent policy revision, and remains contentious in praxis even today. Complications result from the need to relate a unitary construal of the death event with an adequate account of organismal integration and that of the human organism in particular. Advances in the neuroscience of higher human faculties, such as the self, personal identity, and consciousness, and dynamical philosophy of science accounts, however, are yielding a portrait of higher order global integration shared between body and brain. Such conceptual models of integration challenge a praxis relying exclusively on a neurological criterion for death.

Keywords

Somatic Integrity Thesis Brain Death Neurological Criterion for Death End of Life Human Identity Biological Autonomy 

Notes

Acknowledgements

MF is supported by funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for research and innovation under the Specific Grant Agreement No 785907, Human Brain Project SGA2.

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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Loyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Mind and Brain InstituteUniversity of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  3. 3.Centre for Research Ethics and BioethicsUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  4. 4.Science and Society UnitBiology and Molecular Genetics InstituteAriano IrpinoItaly

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