Monday, May 19, 2014

Considering the Comatose With Or Without "Brain Death:" Rrobert Spaemann - "Love and The Dignity of Human Life" (65-66)

'In 2002, the National Cathjolic Cioethics Quarterly published an article by editor in chief Edward J. Furton which was dedicated exclusdively to the debate with Alan Shewmon....

   "Furton's way of thinking is radically nominalistic. For him, a personal soul exists only as long as an individual is capable of specifically personal acts. For Furton, then, the reality of the human soul is not found in allowing man to exist as a living being: the soul is not the forma corporis but the form of the brain and only indirectly the form of the body. 'The soul is... what enlivens a material organ, namely the brain, and from there enlivens the rest of the human body.' (This view was rejected already in 1959 by the Wurrzburg-based neurologist Porf. Joachim Gerlach, for whom the error in the equation of 'brain death' and the death of the individual consists in 'regarding the brain as the seat of the soul.' Similarly, Paul Byrne wrote already in 1979: ""Brain function' is so defined as to take the place of the immaterial principle or soul of man.'" (Byrne, "Brain Death - An Opposing View Point." Furton identifies that which Thomas calls intellectus with factual intellectual consciousness. He does not conclude from the obvious continued existence of a livnig human organism that the personal soul, which is the form of the human body, is still alive, but contrariwise: if a human being is not capable of intellectual acts anymore, the soul has left him and he is, as a person, dead. That fact that the organism is nothing other than a severed organ, which also still shows expression of life. This position is consequent to, and largely coincides with, that of Peter Singer and Derek Parfit, for whom persons exist only as long as they are capable of personal acts: hence sleeping people, e.g., are not persons."

In Fall 2012, Alan Shewmon wrote in Communio XXXIX, 3: "The emprical evidence suggests that all brain-mediated somatic integration is either of the health-maintaining or of the survival-promoting type. Or, expressed the other way around: The constitutive integration minimally needed for the existence of a rationally  ensouled human organism is entirely non-brain-mediatred."

As you keep vigil beside your mother, have Birdget do a little research on this, and ponder away...  [in huge simplicity, consider that the embryo is an organism of  highly developing structures, among which is the nervous system, part of which is the brain. That is, the brain is not the primal source of integration and therefore the unity of the organism [being] but only a part of it, undergoing its own development from a yet "higher" source).

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