Doyen Nguyen:

In the ongoing ‘brain death’ controversy, there has been a constant push for the use of the ‘higher brain’ formulation as the criterion for the determination of death on the grounds that brain-dead individuals are no longer human beings because of their irreversible loss of consciousness and mental functions. This essay demonstrates that such a position flows from a Lockean view of human persons. Compared to the ‘consciousness-related definition of death,’ the substance view is superior, especially because it provides a holistic vision of the human person, and coheres with the perennial axiom about the ‘whole and parts.’