tooleykillingversuslettingdie

tooleykillingversuslettingdie - KTLLING AIcfw_D L...

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KTLLING AI{D LETTII{G DIE SecondEd'ition Edited bE Bor.INrnStrrNnocr< cl,ytct Ar,estern Noncnoss Fordham University Press New York 1994
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Copyright @ 1994 by Fordham (Jniversity Press All rights reserved LC 9+',1'6793 ISBN 0-8232-1562-8 (hardcover) ISBN 0-823 2-1563-6 (PaPerback) Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication-Data Killing and letting die / [edited] by Bonnie Steinbock and Alastair Norcross. - 2nd ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references' ISBN 0-8232-1,562-8 : 27.00. - ISBN 0-8232-1563-6 : $16.95 1. Life and death, Power over. 2. Euthanasia' 3' Medical ethics. I. Steinbock, Bonnie. II. Norcross, Alastair' 8J1469.Ks4 1.994 t79'.7-dc20 94-16793 CIP PUBLICATION OF THIS BOOK WAS AIDED BY A GRANT FROM THE HENRY AND IDA WISSMANN FUND Printed in the United States of America
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An Irrelevant Consideration: Killin$ Versus Lettin$ Die Mi,chael TooLeY Mar{v PEIPLE Hol-p that there is an import?mt moral distinction between passive euthanasia and active euthanasia' Thus' while the AMA [American mtJi*f Association] maintains that people have a right "to die *ith;;;ity,'i 'o. th"t it is morally permissible for a doctor to allow 'o*""o"t to die if that person w-ants to and is suffering from an incurable illness causing pain that cannot be ,"en"i.i,fy aileviated, the AMA is unwilling to countenance ^c- iJ" ".,rr,",'a s i a fo r' ry* "" .1'3,"- : ;1- lllTii::IL:J :;1rn;3;: the misfortune not to be suiterrng trorr in a speedY death. A similar distinction with respect to infanticide has become a commonplace of -talt"f thinking and practice' If an,infant is a mongoloid , ot a microcephalic' and happens- also to have some other defect requiring correctlve 'o'g"ry if the infant is. 'to live' many doctors ""d;;:pi;ls believe ttt't ittt parents have the right to decide *t.trr., rti. ur:rg"ry will be performed, and thus wherher the infant will surviie. But if the child does not have any other defect, it is believed that the parents do not have the right to terminate its life'1 The rarionrl. uidt'lying these distinctions between active and passive euthanasia, ""JUti*ten active and passive infanticide' is the same: the idea'that there is a crucial moral difference belween inrentionally klllinf and intenrionaliy letting die. This idea is ad- mirtedly ,r..y .o'J-ot'' n"t I believe that it can be shown to reflect either confused thinking or a moral point of view unrelated to the interests of individuals' T\vo sons "." fooii"g forward to the death of their nasty but very wealrhy father' Tiied of waiting' they decide' independently 4 103
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r04 Michael Tooley of one another, to kill their father. The one puts some poison in his father's whiskey, and is discovered doing so by his brother, who was just about to do the same thing. The latter then allows his father to imbibe the deadly drink, and refrains from adminis- tering an antidote which he happens to have. The one son killed his father. The other merely allowed him to die. Did the former do something significantly more wrong than the latter?
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