Neuroscience News Shared publicly – Biotech Companies Given Green Light to Attempt to Regenerate Brains of the Dead Two biotech companies in the United States have been given the green light to see if it is possible to regenerate the brains of dead people.
(When I was a little kid I used to have a fantasy about being a pickled brain in a jar, but conscious. It was not a pretty fantasy…)
From Popular Science: <http://www.popsci.com/maybe-its-not-such-great-idea-to-bring…> In the best possible case, the proposed Reanima treatment would miraculously restore the previously-declared dead person. They would regain full psychological continuity, the death certificate would be nullified, and they would continue their old life. They would clearly benefit because they would get a second chance at life.
But it is not hard to imagine that the treatment would not restore the brain completely: memories, personality and functions might be scrambled, lost, or replaced with newly-grown tissue. A new person may have a life worth living and enjoy existing. They could be said to have benefited in the same way a child benefits from being brought into the world. But if there is limited or no psychological continuity, then the original person won’t benefit: they are now truly dead, since their body and brain have become a new person.
Would it make sense to want this kind of treatment if it only makes new people? It is not a health-restoring treatment for anybody, merely an unusual way of reproduction. And though we may want some part of the original person to remain, we could equally well transplant the organs to benefit other people. (Italics mine)
The real problem of course is the possibility of creating persons who have lives that are not worth living, or beings that are not people but who we still have a moral duty to care for.