- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Persistent Vegetative State1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Summary" above.
Write-up2 (as at 11/03/2018 20:19:41): Persistent Vegetative State
- For information on what a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS4) actually is, see for example Link. The medical definition is given there as “A wakeful unconscious state that lasts longer than a few weeks”. Despite the (occasional) wakefulness, there is a “complete lack of cognitive function”.
- The interest in the Persistent Vegetative State within the topic of Personal Identity is that when in a PVS the attributes of personhood are not in evidence – and maybe not capable of being evidenced – so that it is possible to argue that the individual in the PVS is no longer a person5.
- It thus provides the opportunity to pull apart such prima facie co-referential terms as HUMAN PERSON6 and HUMAN BEING7 (or HUMAN ANIMAL8).
- One may wonder why PVS is used in philosophical thought experiments (TEs9) rather than Coma (a more severe condition). I suppose the issue is that in a PVS the brain-stem is substantially intact (whatever other brain-damage has been incurred), so that no life-support is required other than feeding tubes. In irreversible comas, the brain-stem may be so severely damaged that the basic10 functions of the organism cannot be carried on without life support. Consequently, there’s no debate whether those in a PVS are animals, whereas it might be argued that those on life support in an irreversible coma are not. Hence, while the PVS definitely distinguishes human animals from human persons (according to most definitions), irreversible coma might not.
- PVSs are discussed in the following Papers / Notes:-
- My Review11 of "Baillie (James) - What Am I?",
- My Review12 of "Dennett (Daniel) - Conditions of Personhood",
- My Essay13 on "Fine (Kit) - The Non-Identity of a Material Thing and Its Matter",
- My Review14 of "Olson (Eric) - Precis of 'The Human Animal'",
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - When Do Persons Begin and End?".
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read15, include16 the following:-
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- This is mostly a place-holder17. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (11/03/2018 20:19:41).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
- A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
- I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
- As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
- The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
- Note that the Wikipedia article uses the PVS acronym to stand for a Permanent Vegetative State.
- It’s never clear whether any such state is permanent, whereas it is clear that it is persistent.
- In the UK, the state becomes legally “permanent” after 12 months, and the term “continuous” is used in preference to “persistent”.
- I had put “vegetative” here, but I’m unconvinced that any activity above cellular level ought to be classed as “vegetative”;
- But I think the Aristotelian classification is adopted, where “animal” functions are those involving locomotion and the like, rather than nutrition, respiration, etc.
- Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
- In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
- In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
- My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
- I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
- Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)