This essay is in fact a set of four mini-essays, each of which was delivered at the final event of The Comparison Project’s 2015–2017 series by one of its organizers. Allen Zagoren’s conclusion offers us the perspective of a practicing surgeon on the medicalization of death, wrestling with the physician’s instinct to save life at all costs, while understanding that this instinct often comes into conflict with what is best for a person and a society. Lucy Bregman’s conclusion instead focuses attention on the range of relationships between religious traditions and modern Western medicalized views of death, eventually maintaining that it is not biomedical advances per se that are at issue but rather the role of doctor as medical researcher. Mary Gottschalk’s “layperson’s” conclusion explores answers to three key questions that emerged over the course of the 2015–2017 programming cycle: (1) Does the fact that we have the medical means to cure disease or prolong life mean that we should do it? (2) What are the guidelines for determining what should be done and when? (3) Who should make this decision and how? Timothy D Knepper’s comparative conclusion then ends the essay and volume by attempting to explain the striking similarities between the bioethical positions of different religions by drawing on the cognitive scientific approach of Pascal Boyer.
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