AGAINST THE RIGHT TO DIE1
J. David Velleman
University of Michigan
In this paper I offer an argument against establishing an institutional right to die, but I do
not consider how my argument fares against countervailing considerations,
War & Terrorism I
September 11, 2012
Basic positions on morality of terrorism. . . . .
Walzer on Excuses for Terrorism . . . . . . . . .
Two kinds of excuse for terrorism. . . . . . . . .
Excuse #1: Terrorism as a last resort . . . . . .
Excuse #2: Terror
War & Terrorism II
September 13, 2012
War & Self-Defense . . . . . . . .
What do we seek? . . . . . . . . .
Structure of self-defense . . . . .
Limitations on the Right to SD
Right to SD and Right to Life .
Moral rights . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Questions on war & terrorism
September 13, 2012
What is terrorism? How do terrorist acts dier from other violent acts?
How does Walzer think of terrorism? Is W. right to think of terrorists acts
as essentially random, degrading, and fr
October 18, 2012
Facts about world hunger
400 million malnourished; millions constantly hungry; 14 million children
under 5 die each year from eects of malnutrition and infection
As of 2010, 925 million worldwide suering from chronic hunger
1. Explain the following terms: voluntary euthanasia, involuntary euthanasia, nonvoluntary
a. Voluntary Euthanasia- proceeds in response to the informed request of a clearly
b. Involuntary euthanasia- involves acting against
The Meaning of Life II: The Absurd
December 5, 2012
Is life absurd (meaningless)?
If there is some sense in which life is absurd, how should we respond to that
2 / 29
Nagel considers a few reasons for thinking life is absurd:
1. Nothing we do now
The Meaning of Life I
November 28, 2012
Does life have a meaning?
A sense that this is an important question, even if its not clear just
what it means
Taylors strategy: try to understand meaningfulness by contrast with
meaninglessness; seek a clear ima
Animal Welfare I
October 5, 2012
Why should we care about the natural world?
Its in our own interests. Global climate change, species extinction,
nuclear waste, etc. threaten our survival.
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The natural world has great aesthetic value. (Does
Animal Welfare II
October 11, 2012
Is meat eating consistent with our moral responsibilities toward other
What should the proponent of the life-centered view say about morality of
meat eating? What should the proponent of the anthropo
Capital Punishment: a dilemma for the
September 26, 2012
Two forms of Retributivism
Retributivism: Punishment is morally justied insofar as it gives the
guilty what they deserve.
Strict (Equality) Retributivism: the punishment should be id
Drugs and Drug Use I
October 23, 2012
Issues: moral and legal
Is recreational drug use immoral?
Should recreational use of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin be
The legal question is also (in part) a moral one: are laws prohibiting
Drugs and Drug Use II
October 25, 2012
Harm-to-user argument for prohibition:
1. Drug use is very harmful to users.
2. The government should prohibit people from doing things that harm
The government should prohibit drug use.
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November 1, 2012
The case of Terry Schiavo
Was it right to withdraw nutrition in this case (in order to end Schaivos
Should life be preserved at any cost? Should it be preserved when the
subject is in a persistent vegetative state an
November 27, 2012
Three Theories of the Good Life
Hedonistic Theories: what would be best for someone is what would
make her life happiest
Fulllment Theories: what would be best for someone is what,
throughout her life, would best fulll her
November 18, 2012
What is Hedonism?
(Normative) Hedonism the view that the only thing that is intrinsically
good is pleasure, and the only thing intrinsically bad is pain
A life is good to the extent that it involves pleasure and is free of p
The good life
1. What is Hedonism?
a. Normative Hedonism-the view that the only thing that is intrinsivally good is
pleasure, and the only thing intrinsically bad is pain
a.i. A life is good to the extent that it involes pleasure and free of pain