Monday, March 12, 2012

How dead is dead?

I came across this interesting article on the determination of brain death, beating heart cadavers, and organ donation:
What You Lose When You Sign That Donor Card by Dick Teresi in the Wall Street Journal online.

I am not sure what I think about this yet.  My response must be contingent on the truth value of the empirical claims (does blood pressure really increase in response to the scalpel used on the organ donor?) and an ethical question of whether the answer might not matter in the absence of cognition.  But is cognition actually absent?  Another empirical question.