Are Recent Defences of the Brain Death Concept Adequate?
Bioethics 2010 February; 24(2): 47-53
Brain death is accepted in most countries as death. The rationales to explain why brain death is death are surprisingly problematic. The standard rationale that in brain death there has been loss of integrative unity of the organism has been shown to be false, and a better rationale has not been clearly articulated. Recent expert defences of the brain death concept are examined in this paper, and are suggested to be inadequate. I argue that, ironically, these defences demonstrate the lack of a defensible rationale for why brain death should be accepted as death itself. If brain death is death, a conceptual rationale for brain death being equivalent to death should be clarified, and this should be done urgently.
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