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Finding Consciousness – The Neuroscience, Ethics, and Law of Severe Brain Damage - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Finding Consciousness: The Neuroscience, Ethics, and Law of Severe Brain Damage

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong


Modern medicine enables us to keep many people alive after they have suffered severe brain damage and show no reliable outward signs of consciousness. Many such patients are misdiagnosed as being in a permanent vegetative state when they are actually in a minimally conscious state. This mistake has far-reaching implications for treatment and prognosis. To alleviate this problem, neuroscientists have recently developed new brain-scanning methods for detecting consciousness in some of these patients and even for asking them questions, including “Do you want to stay alive?” These new technologica ... More

Keywords: consciousness, vegetative state, minimally conscious state, death, disability, pain, brain damage, neuroscience, fMRI, ethics

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780190280307
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190280307.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, editor
Duke University

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1 Finding Consciousness

Meghan Brayton and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

2 Discussion with a Caring Father

Ken Diviney and Katherine Grichnik

Part I Consciousness

4 Consciousness and Death

James L. Bernat

5 Modes of Consciousness

Tim Bayne and Jakob Hohwy

Part II Diagnosis

Part III Ethics

12 Minimally Conscious States and Pain

Valerie Gray Hardcastle

Part IV Law

13 The Legal Circle of Life

Nita A. Farahany and Rachel Zacharias

14 Guardianship and the Injured Brain

Joseph J. Fins and Barbara Pohl

End Matter