- Notes on the Contributors
- Methods in Bioethics
- The Way We Reason Now: Reflective Equilibrium in Bioethics
- Mental Disorder, Moral Agency, and the Self
- ‘Reinventing’ the Rule of Double Effect
- Policy‐Making in Pluralistic Societies
- Tiers Without Tears: the Ethics of a Two‐Tier Health Care System
- Justice and the Elderly
- Organ Transplantation
- For Dignity or Money: Feminists on the Commodification of Women's Reproductive Labour
- The Definition of Death
- The Aging Society and the Expansion of Senility: Biotechnological and Treatment Goals
- Death is a Punch in the Jaw: Life‐Extension and its Discontents
- Precedent Autonomy, Advance Directives, and End‐of‐Life Care
- Physician‐Assisted Death: the State of the Debate
- Abortion Revisited
- Moral Status, Moral Value, and Human Embryos: Implications for Stem Cell Research
- Therapeutic Cloning: Politics and Policy
- Population Genetic Research and Screening: Conceptual and Ethical Issues
- Genetic Interventions and The Ethics of Enhancement of Human Beings
- Pharmacogenomics: Ethical and Regulatory Issues
- Clinical Equipoise: Foundational Requirement or Fundamental Error?
- Research on Cognitively Impaired Adults
- Research in Developing Countries
- Animal Experimentation
- The Implications of Public Health for Bioethics
- Global Health
- Bioethics and Bioterrorism
Abstract and Keywords
Two factors, medical science's growing control over the timing of death and the increasingly desperate need for organs, have led to a reopening of the debate about the definition of death and have forced a consideration of aspects of the determination of death that had never been addressed before. Without the pressing need for organs, the definition of death would have remained on the back shelf, the conversation of a few interested philosophers or theologians. This article examines some new questions raised by medical technology and the frantic search for new, morally acceptable sources of human organs over the past thirty years. This examination concludes that death itself is a social construct and that, in a pluralistic society such as ours, a conclusive definition of death or determination of the moment of death is out of the reach of both medical science and philosophy.
Stuart J. Youngner is the Susan E. Watson Professor of Bioethics and Chair of the Department of Bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He has written and spoken extensively about definitions of death, organ and tissue transplantation, end‐of‐life decisions, and clinical ethics consultation.
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