Brain Death Debates: From Bioethics to Philosophy of Science

F1000Research 11:195 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


50 years after its introduction, brain death remains controversial among scholars. The debates focus on one question: is brain death a good criterion for determining death? This question has been answered from various perspectives: medical, metaphysical, ethical, and legal or political. Most authors either defend the criterion as it is, propose some minor or major revisions, or advocate abandoning it and finding better solutions to the problems that brain death was intended to solve when it was introduced. Here I plead for a different approach that has been overlooked in the literature: the philosophy of science approach. Some scholars claim that human death is a matter of fact, a biological phenomenon whose occurrence can be determined empirically, based on science. We should take this claim seriously, whether we agree with it or not. The question is: how do we know that human death is a scientific matter of fact? Taking the philosophy of science approach means, among other things, examining how the determination of human death became an object of scientific inquiry, exploring the nature of the brain death criterion itself, and analysing the meaning of its core concepts such as “irreversibility” and “functions”.

Author's Profile

Alberto Molina-Pérez
Instituto de Estudios Sociales Avanzados (IESA-CSIC)


Added to PP

70 (#64,827)

6 months
54 (#23,558)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?