Brain Death and Slippery Slopes
Veatch, Robert M.
Journal of Clinical Ethics. 1992 Fall; 3(3): 181-187.
The definition-of-death debate has proved surprisingly intractable. Since the introduction of the distinction between the so-called whole-brain and higher-brain concepts of death in the mid-1970s, great concern has been expressed that any move to a definition beyond one focusing on all functions of the entire brain would inevitably lead to great mischief and place us on a "slippery slope." Presumably, those expressing such concerns believe that even if the whole-brain definition is only an approximation, it at least is an approximation that permits the drawing of a sharp line. I am increasingly convinced that, to the contrary, any whole-brain definition of death already places us on a slippery slope and that the only way to avoid insurmountable problems is to shift to a higher-brain-oriented definition of death, one that draws the sharp line between those who maintain capacity for integrated organic and mental function and those who do not....
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Veatch, Robert M. (2005-08)In its October 2001 issue, this journal published a series of articles questioning the Whole-Brain-based definition of death. Much of the concern focused on whether somatic integration-a commonly understood basis for the ...