Phil-Entire Semester Notes

Phil-Entire Semester Notes - The Permissibility of...

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The Permissibility of Euthanasia Euthanasia = “good death” Terri Shaivo - persistent vegetative state - court agreed with husband to terminate her life - bitter struggle o parents wanted her kept alive - eventually life was terminated o no more feeding her, she starved to death - emotional and political turmoil Two Types of Questions 1. **ethical/moral question of conditions of justification o permissibility/justification of euthanasia o is it justified to kill someone to save him or her from his or her own misery 2. If yes, then who gets to decide what to do What types of situations are considered euthanasia? - distinguished from other kinds of killing in that the killing is done solely for the sake of that person; exclusively the reason having to do with the well- being of the victim himself - not a pure case of euthanasia if that condition doesn’t hold true o example: Terri Shaivo—cost a lot, big consideration, but not the kind of consideration we are discussing Euthanasia: the only reason to terminate life is for the well-being of that person The Big Questions 1. Is there ever a case where it is better for X to be dead than alive? A. How relevant (if at all) is the victim’s own view of the desirability of euthanasia i. Voluntary type of case referred to as “assisted suicide” (victim is capable of expressing desires and actually asks for this; explicitly asks for help to terminate their life) the question: should we respect that wish to commit suicide? ii. Involuntary The person is in no position to make such a wish, whether they are in a coma or just incapable of expressing
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The question: would involuntary euthanasia be justified if we only are sufficiently confident that the victim would have requested to terminate life under that circumstance 2. If YES (to #1), what may we do about it? A. Active We take steps and do something to terminate the life B. Passive Either we stop measures taken to keep alive OR we just do nothing and let the person die ANSWERS: 1. **From impartial ethical perspective** how can we answer such a question? A. consider the possible grounds for a negative answer: o the wrong of killing take this to the extreme, that it is always wrong to kill is this claim maintainable? Not really the view we hold (can think of exceptions) Therefore this assumption is wrong o Know difference between wrong and absolutely wrong B. Create the extreme position that it is never better to be dead than alive o example: would you rather die and be shot now or be tortured for five days and then be killed? In this case, the position is wrong in that it would not be better for x to be alive o Know that there must be some case where it is better to be dead than alive So the answer to #1 is YES (the answer can’t be NO) 2. So since answer to 1 is yes because there are situations: Now, what can we do about it and under what qualifications? o
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Phil-Entire Semester Notes - The Permissibility of...

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