Originally published in 1985, this book examines the concept of death against the background of dramatic changes in medical technology. The book argues that ‘brain death’ can be precisely defined and that a biological concept of death such as ‘brain death’ can be philosophically well-grounded. It examines traditional criteria for death and various formulations of the concept of death in both medical literature and philosophical texts. Definitions of ‘brain death’ – some of which have become statute law – are critically examined. The author also examines ethical and social policy questions which arise out of attempts to redefine the boundaries of life.
‘…has taken the trouble to do some really serious neurological homework. His philosophical formulations are much the sharper for it…’ British Medical Journal
‘…(argues for) the clear separation of the medical question of when death occurs and the ethical question of when we should stop trying to keep a person alive.’ Peter Singer, THES
‘…careful and well documented discussion.’ Anthony Manser
1. Introduction 2. Death: Concept and Criteria 3. Three Formulations of Brain Death 4. The Brain, the Brainstem and the Critical System 5. Higher Brain, Whole Brain and Lower Brain Formulations 6. Criteria for Death 7. Death: Process or Event? 9. Brain Death and Personal Identity 9. Ethics and Brain Death 10. Brain Death and the Slippery Slope