A generation of brilliant scientists is racing to understand consciousness. The answer, says one of America’s leading cognitive neuroscientists, may leave us less than satisfied—unless we realize that our sense of a unified self is just another of our brain’s survival systems.
When the technology of heart transplantation and life-support machines overtook the traditionally accepted criterion of death—cessation of heartbeat—an alternative criterion emerged. Irreversible loss of brain function, or “brain death,” for all the debates and recent attacks it has provoked, has worked well as a de...
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