- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Brain Death1' during my Thesis research, as from November 2014.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Statistics" above.
Write-up2 (as at 18/03/2020 10:22:05): Brain Death
- Brain death is – strictly speaking – just the death of the brain – or, strictly speaking, the death of the brain-stem. See NHS: Brain Death and Wikipedia: Brain Death. Without a functioning brain-stem the human animal cannot survive without life-support, as the brain-stem regulates breathing and heartbeat (amongst much else); nor can the patient ever regain consciousness.
- Brain death is important in personal identity as it is often considered the point at which the animal – despite the best efforts of life-support systems – is “really” dead.
- There are different understandings of just when brain death occurs, and – indeed – on what it is. See, for example, the Wikipedia article above, which correctly distinguishes brain death (total failure of the brainstem) from a PVS4.
- On the Brain View5 of Personal Identity, the death of the brain6 – consistently defined – is obviously the death of the person7 – that is if persons, qua persons, are the sort of thing that can die, as death is a biological event. Maybe more strictly, on the Brain View, brain death would be our death.
- The same is probably true of Mark Johnston’s view that we are Human Beings8.
- Brain death is important legally and ethically as it is used to decide when it is right to withdraw life support. It is said that the human being is already dead when the brain is dead. I don’t really want to get drawn into this ethical argument. As previously noted, without the regulating power of the brain the organism is already dead, so – on the animalist9 view – we are therefore dead. We don’t therefore exist in this state, whereas in a PVS we do exist, but don’t have anything that matters10 to us.
- See "Kaufman (Sharon) - Neither person nor cadaver" and comments thereon for various other issues, which will be incorporated into this Note in due course.
- Topics related to this one include:-
→ Near Death Experiences12.
- For a page of Links13 to this Note, Click here.
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read14 include the following:-
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - When Do Persons Begin and End?", Baker
- "Gert (Bernard), Lizza (John), Youngner (Stuart) & Chiong (Winston) - Matters of 'Life' and 'Death'", Gert Etc.
- "Green (Michael) & Wikler (Daniel) - Brain Death and Personal Identity", Green & Wikler, 1980
- "Kaufman (Sharon) - Neither person nor cadaver", Kaufman, 2020
- "Lockwood (Michael) - When Does a Life Begin?", Lockwood
- "Mackie (David) - Personal Identity and Dead People", Mackie
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- "Agich (George J.) & Jones (Royce P.) - Personal Identity and Brain Death: A Critical Response", Agich & Jones, 1986
- "Bernat (James L.) - A Defense of the Whole-Brain Concept of Death", Bernat, 1998
- "Campbell (Courtney S.) - A No-Brainer: Criticisms of Brain-Based Standards of Death", Campbell, 2001
- "Chiong (Winston) - Brain Death without Definitions", Chiong
- "Cranford (Ronald E.) - The Persistent Vegetative State: The Medical Reality (Getting the Facts Straight)", Cranford
- "Dagi (T. Forcht) & Kaufman (Rebecca) - Clarifying the Discussion on Brain Death", Dagi, 2001
- "DeGrazia (David) - Identity, What We Are, and the Definition of Death", DeGrazia
- "Hershenov (David) - Olson's Embryo Problem", Hershenov
- "Halevy (Amir) - Beyond Brain Death?", Halevy, 2001
- "Lizza (John) - Persons, Humanity, & the Definition of Death", Lizza
- "McMahan (Jeff) - Endings", McMahan
- "Morioka (Masahiro) - Brain Dead Person: Preface + TOC & Chapters 1, 2, 5 & 7", Morioka, 1989
- "Morioka (Masahiro) - Current Debate on the Ethical Issues of Brain Death", Morioka, 2004
- "Morioka (Masahiro) - Reconsidering Brain Death: A Lesson From Japan's Fifteen Years of Experience", Morioka, 2001
- "Piccinini (Gualtiero) & Bahar (Sonya) - No Mental Life after Brain Death: The Argument from the Neural Localization of Mental Functions", Piccini, 2015
- "Potts (Michael) - A Requiem for Whole Brain Death: A Response to D. Alan Shewmon's ‘The Brain and Somatic Integration’", Potts, 2001
- "Seifert (Josef) - Is 'Brain Death' Actually Death", Seifert, 1993
- "Shewmon (D. Alan) - The Brain and Somatic Integration: Insights Into the Standard Biological Rationale for Equating “Brain Death” With Death", Shewmon, 2001
- "Singer (Peter) - Rethinking Life & Death - The Collapse Our Traditional Ethics", Singer, 1994 … especially
→ "Singer (Peter) - How Death was Redefined", and
→ "Singer (Peter) - Dr. Shann’s Dilemma"
- "Steineck (Christian) - Brain Death, Death, and Personal Identity", Steineck, 2003
- "Veatch (Robert M.) - The Death of Whole-Brain Death: The Plague of the Disaggregators, Somaticists, and Mentalists", Veatch, 2005
- "Veatch (Robert M.) - The Impending Collapse of the Whole-Brain Definition of Death", Veatch, 1993
- "Walker (A. Earl) - Cerebral Death", Walker, 1977
- This is mostly a place-holder15.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (18/03/2020 10:22:05).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020