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DAVID VELLEMAN ON PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE & SUICIDE NOTES FOR PHILOSOPHY 162 “That’s what I miss in so many discussions of euthanasia and assisted suicide: a sense of something in each of us that is larger than any of us, something that makes human life more than just an exchange of costs for benefits, more than just a job or a trip to the mall. I miss the sense of a value in us that makes a claim on us—a value we must live up to ” (p. 612). Velleman in a nutshell; an interpretation. The numbered points interpret Velleman’s position in “A Right to Self-Termination?”. Arneson’s comments and questions appear in wavy brackets— like this {}. 1. Satisfying your interests is not unconditionally valuable; it is only valuable if you are valuable. 2. Being a rational agent (a person), you are valuable. Every person is unconditionally valuable. 3. Personhood, rational agency capacity, commands respect. This is the fundamental moral command. 4. Destroying your rational agency capacity to satisfy some of your interests fails to respect your rational agency capacity and is there fore morally wrong. (Giving up what is unconditionally valuable in exchange for what is only conditionally valuable is incoherent and morally wrong.) 5. Suicide for pain relief is morally wrong. Doing what you know will kill you for pain relief is also wrong. Smoking—seriously (risking) shortening your life just for pleasure—is wrong. {Further questions: Drunkenness for conviviality? Any recreational mind-altering drug for fun? Naps for contentment? Lying on the beach when you could be developing your mental capacity? Participation in any dangerous sport? In any nondangerous sport that still involves some risk to mental capacity? Taking painkillers that dull your mind just for pain relief? On what basis do we draw lines between what is permitted and not on this view?} 6. Rational agency is not a value to be promoted and maximized, rather a value to be respected
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This note was uploaded on 09/07/2011 for the course PHIL 162 taught by Professor Arneson during the Spring '11 term at UCSD.

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