22nd of June 2023 – Piotr Nowak – The death of an organism and death as the loss of moral status. Does the organismal superposition problem challenge the first, while nihilism challenges the second?
We have the pleasure to invite you to another research seminar in the ‘BIOUNCERTAINTY’ research project. Next week Piotr Nowak give a talk: "The death of an organism and death as the loss of moral status. Does the organismal superposition problem challenge the first, while nihilism challenges the second?”. The seminar will take place on Thursday 22nd of June at 5:30 p.m. in the room 25 on Grodzka Street and via MS Teams.
According to the mainstream bioethical stance, death constitutes the termination of an organism. In this article, I argue that such an understanding of death is inappropriate in the usual context of determining death, since it also has a social bearing. There are two reasons to justify this argument. First, the mainstream bioethical definition generates an organismal superposition challenge, according to which a given patient in a single physiological state might be both alive and dead, like Schrödinger’s cat. Therefore, there is no clear answer as to whether organ retrieval from a brain-dead patient is an act of killing or not. Second, when combined with the dead donor rule, the mainstream position in the definition of death might lead to ethically unacceptable verdicts, since there is a discrepancy between terminating an organism and depriving someone of moral status.