It is almost unbelievable, but scientists have apparently say they have discovered a way to bring dead dogs back to life.
Suddenly those awful scenes in horror movies about zombies rising from the dead could soon be a reality.
Scientists at the Safar Centre in Pittsburgh, by using what they call a suspended animation technique, emptied the dead animals’ veins of all blood and then refilled them with ice-cold saline solution to preserve the tissues and organs.
The animals at the time had no heartbeat or brain activity and were classed as being clinically dead.
The team then replaced the saline solution with fresh blood, and electric shocks were used to restart the dogs hearts.
They say the dogs appeared to be unharmed by their suspension and had suffered no brain damage.
The scientists hope in future to use the technique on humans, possibly within a year, and are already in talks with hospitals about trials on trauma patients.
They believe the procedure could save the lives of people who have suffered massive blood loss, such as battlefield casualties or stabbing victims.
Trauma surgeon Dr Howard Champion, says the results are stunning, as these dogs supposedly had complete cardiac standstill for three hours and then recovered to normality.
Actually Michael linked to the Daily Mail version, but I think News-Medical.Net is more reliable. (That is, I have no information whatsoever about News-Medical.Net, so my subjective trust in it is much higher than my trust in the Daily Mail.)
Anyway, on to the philosophy. It seems to me very hard to find a plausible metaphysical view on which the dog does not have one temporal part before dying, and another temporal part after being brought back to life. On van Inwagen’s view, I guess the dog has to go out of existence, and then the very same thing has to come back into existence a few hours later. Or he has to say that a new dog was constructed (born?) with all the appearances of an older dog. Even on more orthodox endurantist views, on which such things as dog corpses exist, we’d have to say somehow that the dog endures over a period in which it is a corpse, before returning to being a dog. This seems logically plausible, but if anything deserves the name ‘crazy metaphysic’. I can’t see a plausible way through here except to say that there is one part of the dog that ends at its death, and another part of the dog that comes into being when it is reanimated.
One could try and say that the dog stayed being a dog all through the process. But that leads to odd results. When we ask “How many dogs are there in the world?” we don’t want dead dogs that might later be reanimated to be included in the count. So I think there’s no hope for the claim that this thing ceases to be a dog for a while. The dog is temporally gappy, and that’s hard to comprehend without temporal parts.
This is all assuming the story is true. It has appeared in several newspapers, but it could all be an amusing hoax. In which case the debate about temporal parts will have to return to the philosophy classroom.
Posted by Brian Weatherson in Uncategorized