Do Not Leave Definition of Death Just to Doctors

Andy Ho lucidly explains how the definition of death is value-laden, synthesizing a lot of recent philosophical and medical literature.  The issue is more acute in Singapore, because organ donation is presumed and opt-out.  

“They make a value judgment when they say that the loss of personhood in brain death makes it really death. . . .  So what is a moral issue involving life and death has been surreptitiously changed into one about a biological fact to be discovered medically.”

“[T]he current public policy permitting organ harvesting from the brain dead may be resting on shaky moral grounds. . . .  It deserves being reopened for debate by all.  It should not be left to doctors who have no particular expertise in philosophical endeavours.” 

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.