The Conceptual Basis for Brain Death Revisited

Loss of organic integration or loss of consciousness?
  • John P. Lizza
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 550)

Abstract

When a neurological criterion for determining death was formally introduced in the recommendation of the 1968 Ad Hoc Committee of the Harvard Medical School, the conceptual basis for accepting the criterion was unclear.1 As Martin Pernick notes, the Committee shifted back and forth between endorsing the loss of consciousness, as opposed to the loss of bodily integration, as the conceptual foundation for the new criterion that the Committee eventually proposed.2 Indeed, the Committee’s characterization of the criterion as “irreversible coma” reflected this ambiguity, as the term had been used in the past to describe the condition of individuals in deep coma or persistent vegetative state.3 In fact, although the Committee proposed a new criterion for determining death, it had little to say about the definition or concept of death for which the criterion was proposed.

Keywords

Brain Death Personal Identity Irreversible Loss Persistent Vegetative State Functionalist View 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • John P. Lizza
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyKutztown University of PennsylvaniaKutztownUSA

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