Death: Beyond Whole-Brain Criteria

  • Richard M. Zaner

Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 31)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Introduction

    1. Richard M. Zaner
      Pages 1-14
  3. Historical and Conceptual Foundations

  4. Beyond Whole-Brain Criteria of Death: Legal Considerations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 99-99
    2. Patricia D. White
      Pages 101-109
    3. David Randolph Smith
      Pages 111-144
  5. The President’s Commission and Beyond

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 145-145
    2. Richard M. Zaner
      Pages 187-197
    3. Edward T. Bartlett, Stuart J. Youngner
      Pages 199-216
  6. The Cultural Context

  7. Back Matter
    Pages 267-278

About this book


From the tone of the report by the President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Re­ search, one might conclude that the whole-brain-oriented definition of death is now firmly established as an enduring element of public policy. In that report, Defining Death: Medical, Legal and Ethical Issues in the Determination of Death, the President's Commission forwarded a uni­ form determination of death act, which laid heavy accent on the signifi­ cance of the brain stem in determining whether an individual is alive or dead: An individual who has sustained either (1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or (2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, is dead. A determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards ([1], p. 2). The plausibility of these criteria is undermined as soon as one confronts the question of the level of treatment that ought to be provided to human bodies that have permanently lost consciousness but whose brain stems are still functioning.


death ethical issues health issue metaphysics physics

Editors and affiliations

  • Richard M. Zaner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1988
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-94-010-7720-0
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-2707-0
  • Series Print ISSN 0376-7418
  • Buy this book on publisher's site