Brain Injury and Survival

Walter Glannon

in Brain, Body, and Mind

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734092
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894475 | DOI:
Brain Injury and Survival

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This chapter discusses the metaphysical and ethical implications of severe brain injury, considering the respects in which individuals with these injuries survive or fail to survive them. It underscores the difficulty in diagnosing disorders of consciousness. Even when individuals survive brain injuries, they may or may not benefit from medical interventions that keep them alive and restore a greater degree of consciousness. Survival and consciousness by themselves have no value. What matters is which physical and cognitive functions are restored, the degree to which they are restored, and how they compare with the functions the individual had before the injury. In some cases, recovering a greater degree of consciousness can be worse for a person and result in significant harm.

Keywords: benefit; brain injury; cognitive functions; disorders of consciousness; harm; narrative identity; survival

Chapter.  14938 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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