Organic Unity, Brain Life, and Our Beginning

John Finnis

in Intention and Identity

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580064
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729386 | DOI:
Organic Unity, Brain Life, and Our Beginning

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This chapter is about a thesis, proposed by Michael Lockwood and some Catholic theologians, that a human life does not begin until the brain has formed and matured to a sufficient degree. The thesis is presented as counterpart to or symmetrical with a thesis about brain death. But the proper criterion is integrated organic functioning, and this precedes ‘brain life’, even if subsequently such integration is a function of the brain. Conception is a radically new beginning, and Lockwood's attempts to obscure this verbally are illuminating. Beneath his arguments is a dualism which is self-refuting.

Keywords: brain life; brain death; integrated organic functioning; dualism; Michael Lockwood; conception

Chapter.  3689 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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