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How Many Ways Can You Die?


Event Summary

Piotr Nowak headshot

Piotr Nowak

At this event, Piotr Grzegorz Nowak (Assistant Professor at the Institute of Philosophy of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland) discussed challenges to the mainstream bioethical definition of death, which equates death with the cessation of an organism. Theoretical biology operates with a plurality of equally valid organismic concepts, which imply different conclusions regarding the organismal status of a brain-dead patient. Moreover, the theoretical biology concepts of an organism are very distant from the view on an organism that appears through bioethicists theorizing on death. Therefore, there is no single correct answer to whether a brain-dead patient is alive or dead. The notion of causing death or killing may involve non-reducible moral phenomenology that existed even before the theory of an organism in modern science.

This working group was organized as part of the Death: From Philosophy to Medical Practice and the Law project at the Neubauer Collegium.