[ExI] New York Times piece on cryonics, featuring Robin Hanson & Peggy

Natasha Vita-More natasha at natasha.cc
Tue Jul 13 14:06:29 UTC 2010

Okay.  I think Damien Sullivan was correct, as you and Damien Broderick in
regards to a historical, traditional definition of death and dead.  And
surely a reanimated person whose brain and/or brain and full body is put in
liquid nitrogen is met both the historical, traditional and the modern
meaning of "dead" as officially and legally stated by the assisting
physician, medical technician an/or coroner.  

Nevertheless, for cryonics, the person is in a suspended state, regarless of
the hope that he or she will be reanimated.

But let me remind you all that the concept of what is or is not dead has
changed over the eons.

"Definitions of death are based on observation and prognosis in meeting
certain criteria as proposed a knowledgeable authority of death.  But how
dead does someone have to be to be dead?  A limp, cold and immobile body was
once concerned dead.  But a person could be unconscious and reawaken.  A
seemingly quiet chest exhibiting stillness rather than a beating heart
evidenced death, but then a heart could beat quietly.  A candle’s still
flame could determine a loss of breathing, but like a limp body and quiet
heart, then the nostrils’ weakened breath might go unnoticed.  Testing the
pulse in dominant anterior veins of the wrist, the neck or the groin
evidenced a loss of blood flow, but a person’s blood could reflow again with
a strong push on the chest, a force of oxygen into the mouth, or a slap to
the face.  The observation that someone whose heart, lungs and pulse has
stopped functioning for a period of time is not full and accurate diagnosis
that a person has ceased to exist for all time.  

"The fear of being misdiagnosed as dead can be more frightening than death
itself. Medical technologies do now provide microscopic determinants of
death; however misdiagnosis of death is possible.  I do not intend this to
be a diversion from the focus of the research, but more an insight into a
growing concern about how and when a person is actually dead." (Vita-More

It will be interesting to see what the next definition of dead will be, and
if a person has to be legally dead before suspension.  And it will be
interesting to see how dead will be redefined if and when cognition is
distributed and/or a person has more than one persona existing in different
platforms and/or time frames.

Natasha Vita-More

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Giulio Prisco
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 12:55 AM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [ExI] New York Times piece on cryonics,featuring Robin Hanson &

The legal definition of death is based on a certificate of death signed by a
physician with the authority to sign one. According to this legal
definition, cryonic patients are dead.

On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 1:23 AM,  <natasha at natasha.cc> wrote:
> Quoting Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com>:
>> Cryonics does not force anyone to die, nor does forbidding cryonics 
>> force anyone to die. Cryonics clients are, by definition, *dead* 
>> already.
> Cryonics patients are "suspended, not, by definition, *dead*.  It is 
> true that a legal "death certificate" must be made and signed by an 
> attending physician, medical examiner or coroner, but according to 
> cryonics, the person is suspended.
> Best,
> Natasha
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