Death vs. clinical death

Clinical death = a significant and verifiable loss of vital function which, once confirmed, allows us to reasonably assume death has occurred.

Death = the irreversible loss of vital function.

Clearly, clinical death differs from death in that people return from clinical death all the time, sometimes through spontaneous healing and other times through medical interventions. death, however, rules out the possibility of any such revival.

The reason for this is that medicine does not infuse vital powers but channels them or fans them back to flame, and so any successful medical intervention presupposes some level of vital power. Just how far we can forestall the complete loss of vital power is not known (cold seems to help) but any hope for pushing the limit beyond a few hours is storytelling, and after a certain point even the stories become implausible – even if we could clone Lincoln’s DNA the resulting person would not develop the conviction that he should be elected the 16th President, and if you put my consciousness on a computer, why would I care what he thought?




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