Life/Death

The culture of biomedicine discusses the social and cultural implications that influence the objectivity of biomedicine. Biomedicine is considered a very objective and universal way of looking at healthcare, but this is not always true. There are many factors of life that we consider to be ‘objective,’ but recent findings and conclusions that western people come to are evidence that biomedicine is definitely influenced by culture. The adoption of the germ theory and race theory in biomedical research is proof that culture does influence the objectivity of biomedicine, according to lecture 5.1: Culture of Biomedicine. The example that I chose to talk about is the Life/Death dichotomy and how our own social beliefs influence our definition of life and death. According to the lecture, the belief about when a person is actually a person is a huge disagreement in our society and is shown by the ‘pro life vs. pro choice’ battles that we see everyday. It is a hot button issue and is a sensitive topic, not because of the objectivity of it, but because of the social context that affects the biomedicine of the definition. Death can also be viewed the same way; death is not defined by a single act or event, but is instead defined loosely and ultimately decided by friends and family. What major event causes death? Is it the last breath we take? Or is it when our brain stops working? This dispute alone shows that there is no distinct way to tell when someone is not living anymore in biomedicine.

I personally believe that my religious beliefs and social experiences have influenced my definition of life and death. This dichotomy, like many other dichotomies are controversial because of their abstract nature. I think that the idea of dichotomy is hard to define as well because many times the dichotomy in question is not rigid or well defined and that is why I think it causes a lot of controversy.

I think that the dichotomy of life and death is accepted as logical in biomedicine because it affects the people who are around that is born or deceased. The idea of life and death is hard to define because a third party ultimately creates the definition and this is why it is hard to come to a universal understanding. A dead person or newly born person never declare themselves as a being “dead or alive” and that is where a logical stand has to be taken by biomedicine. Biomedicine makes an attempt at objectively define life and death, but it will never be agreed upon universally because the knowledge of the affected person will never be taken into consideration.

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