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DEADLY PLURALISM? WHY DEATH-CONCEPT, DEATH-DEFINITION, DEATH-CRITERION AND DEATH-TEST PLURALISM SHOULD BE ALLOWED, EVEN THOUGH IT CREATES SOME PROBLEMS

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT

Death concept, death definition, death criterion and death test pluralism has been described by some as a problematic approach. Others have claimed it to be a promising way forward within modern pluralistic societies. This article describes the New Jersey Death Definition Law and the Japanese Transplantation Law. Both of these laws allow for more than one death concept within a single legal system. The article discusses a philosophical basis for these laws starting from John Rawls' understanding of comprehensive doctrines, reasonable pluralism and overlapping consensus. It argues for the view that a certain legal pluralism in areas of disputed metaphysical, philosophical and/or religious questions should be allowed, as long as the disputed questions concern the individual and the resulting policy, law or acts based on the policy/law, do not harm the lives of other individuals to an intolerable extent. However, while this death concept, death definition, death criterion and death test pluralism solves some problems, it creates others.

Keywords: Japan; New Jersey; Rawls; death; metaphysics; pluralism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8519.2008.00669.x

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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