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Unformatted text preview: PHL M idterm 2 Review Rachels on Active and Passive Euthanasia Active and Passive Euthanasia • Active euthanasia involves merciful killing of an individual • Passive euthanasia involves removal of care so as to allow a individual to die • Both active and passive euthanasia result in the death of the patient • What then is the moral difference between active and passive euthanasia Conventional Doctrine • According to the American Medical Association: o Intentional termination of the life of one human being be another is contrary to that for which the medical profession stands o Letting one go when there’s irrefutable death is imminent (suggestion that active is bad and passive is good) Rachels’ Arguments • Rachels wishes to argue that there is no moral difference between passive and active euthanasia • There is moral difference between the consequences of euthanasia, but these differences favor active • Conventional doctrine is inconsistent • Rachels offers 4 different arguments Things to Consider • Rachels grants that it is possible to reject both • Doesn’t attempt to provide argument for euthanasia itself • Attempts to show that the particular position on euthanasia is inconsistent • This is not an argument for active euthanasia • This is an argument for active euthanasia given previous commitment to passive euthanasia Cases – Child • Child has down syndrome and obstruct intestine that require a form of minor surgery in order for the child to live • Child is allowed to die by withholding needed surgery • Over a span of several days, dehydration and infection will result in gradual death • Use of passive euthanasia rather than active means what could have been short and painless is instead prolonged First Argument • Active euthanasia allows patient to die without unnecessarily prolonging his suffering • Passive euthanasia will often cause patient to suffer more • Favor of passive euthanasia is thus favoring the infliction of greater suffering than necessary • Infliction is not consistent with the principles in support of passive euthanasia Arbitrariness • Passive euthanasia is possible only because the child is born with and obstructed intestine • What determines if the child lives or dies is whether the intestine is obstructed • What really matters is not that the child has an obstructed intestine, but instead that he has down syndrome • Passive euthanasia is only dependent on the obstructed intestine Second Argument • If the child’s life is worth preserving, it should be preserved regardless of whether or not the...
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course PHL 304 taught by Professor Leon during the Summer '08 term at University of Texas.
- Summer '08