There’s a Surprisingly Rich Debate About How to Define Death

August 7, 2018

(Vox) – What is death, really?  Turns out there’s no true consensus among doctors, bioethicists, and philosophers. The way death is determined can even change as you cross state lines.  Is it when our brains completely shut down? Is it when parts of our brains stop working? Is it when our hearts or lungs stop working? Is it when we lose the ability to think? The line can be blurry, especially now that we have technology to keep organs functioning. Because of these artificial ways of sustaining life, differentiating death from life sometimes falls outside of the boundaries of science, according to Robert Veatch, professor emeritus of medical ethics at Georgetown University and the senior research scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics.

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