Human beings have the right to grow and die in the form of wholeness

My paper “Natural Right to Grow and Die in the Form of Wholeness: A Philosophical Interpretation of the Ontological Status of Brain-dead Children” has been published in the journal DIOGENES in 2011. You can read the entire text at:

The following is an abstract:

“In this paper, I would like to argue that brain-dead small children have a natural right not to be invaded by other people even if their organs can save the lives of other suffering patients. My basic idea is that growing human beings have the right to grow in the form of wholeness, and dying human beings also have the right to die in the form of wholeness; in other words, they have the right to be protected from outside invasion, unless they have declared their wish to abandon that right beforehand. I call this the principle of wholeness. Natural rights, which were discussed by Hobbes and Locke in the 17th century, have to be extended to include the right to grow and die in the form of wholeness in the age of scientific civilization, where peripheral human lives are being threatened by aggressive biomedicine and other advanced technologies. ”

In this paper I argue that human beings have a natural right to grow and die in the form of wholeness, and I call this idea “the principle of wholeness.” According to this principle, organ removal from small brain-dead children is prohibited, and research on fertilized eggs is also prohibited, in order to protect unconsciouss human lives in the state of growing and dying. This idea shows a sharp contrast with the personhood argument in bioethics advocated by Michael Tooley and Peter Singer. And my argument is different from that of conservative bioethics. This is a new approach to bioethical issues. Of course I understand that this is a minority idea from a world point of view, but you can find a consistent logic that should be taken seriously if we are to pay respect for peripheral lives in the age of biotechnology.

This is a paper in the field of “philosophy of life” as well as bioethics. If you are interested in the philosophy of life as a discipline please visit the website of the Journal of Philosophy of Life:

— Masahiro Morioka

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