I paste from the original post: I just read an article briefly summarizing some research at NYU SoM. These scientists said: Your brain continues to function after death and you know when you are dead.
I have thought about this; apart from the wildly wide verbal or written culture on death, covering millennia and the whole surface of Planet Earth, there's this study by the NYU School of medicine. I'd really love to read it, because it – the question posed as it is – leaves me with a logical, conceptual and perhaps semantic doubt which is of interest for me.
If the brain 'continues to work after you're dead', how does it know you're dead? The rumor is old: they say that guillotined men's head, fallen into the basket, was conscious for a few more minutes realizing its condition. Not nice. But you may die in a coma, not conscious, with machines indicating that your brain functions are flat (*), in your sleep – when your brain works but you are not conscious in the way we mean when speaking of consciousness like the daily one, the Ego one – or in a number of other circumstances when your brain is not physically damaged or destroyed: in such cases, what tells you you're dead? I also wonder how these studies were conducted: I doubt that the dead's brain, still going on working, was able to control the voluntary functions hence to answer questions posed by the scholars; what would the difference be, brain working and consciousness remaining the same, between life and death? Osho, the discussed guru of the many Rolls, said that the moment of death is like a giant orgasm of the mind; more traditional thinkers admit that an enormous amount of the substances produced by the pituitary gland is freed all together in a flash at the moment of death, causing the reported (by those who have 'clinically died and then come back', another delicate matter) state of ecstasy (of some) in the act of dying. Something different from daily conscience must take place at that moment, if one is able to think I'm dead. I really wonder about these things.
(*) (such as a computer does when you spend your days posting own a HiFi forum, for example)