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February+27 - Current Moral Problems Lecture February 27...

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Current Moral Problems Lecture February 27 Killing and Allowing to Die: Is There An Ethically Significant Difference? Daniel Callahan: “Killing and Allowing to Die” Three Perspectives on Nature and Human Action Metaphysical Moral Medical The Metaphysical Perspective There is a distinction between “the self” and “nature” or the “external world” Humans cannot control everything in nature, which has its own  independent “causal  dynamism.” Death is a natural process beyond human control. Attempts to prevent death in dying patients are misguided efforts to exercise complete  control over nature. Killing patients rather than waiting for them to die is another kind of misguided effort to  exercise complete control over nature. The Moral Perspective When a physician kills a patient (e.g., by administering a lethal injection), the doctor is  the  physical cause  of the patient’s death.
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