Past Event

Making Progress on Death: Towards an Updated Normative Framework

March 24, 2021 - March 25, 2021
11:00 AM - 4:20 PM

Event Description

Over 50 years after its inception, the Neurological Standard for Declaration of Death (NSDD) remains a subject of criticisms and challenges. Despite being widely established within medical practice and the law, there remains considerable public confusion about the meaning of the term “brain dead” and its relation to the death of a human being. There is also dissent by some clinicians, philosophers, and other critical observers in claiming that “brain death” is, indeed, the death of the human being. Some of these critics have published evidence of ongoing integrated bodily activities in some patients meeting the criteria of “whole brain death” and who have claimed that this evidence invalidates the rationale for today’s consensus position, and makes the NSDD akin to a medical/legal/social construct. At the other extreme, there are pressures against insisting that declaring death, or at least “organ donation eligibility,” requires the irreversible loss of function in the whole brain. These challenges necessitate a re-examination of the neurological standard. In this conference, we intend to undertake such a re-examination. We have invited a diverse multidisciplinary group of experts who will critically discuss and engage with the philosophical, medical, and legal aspects of current debates surrounding the declaration of death based on neurologic criteria. The goal is to investigate points of controversy in depth with an eye towards lessening disagreements, exploring alternatives, and considering how to engage with the public.

Event Speakers

Please visit the event webpage to view the speaker list. 

Event Infromation

Free and open to the public; registration encouraged. The conference will also be live-streamed via YouTube. For more information, please visit the event webpage

Hosted by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago.