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(6) Euthanasia (Rachels vs Callahan).docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHI2396
Professor
All Professors
Semester
Fall

Description
6 Euthanasia Rachels vs CallahanRachels p6163Callahan p65689022010As of 2008 active euthanasia is legally permissible in Belgium Luxemburg The Netherlands and Switzerland the US state of Oregon the Autonomous Community of Andalusia Spain and Thailand James Rachels Active and passive euthanasia reprinted over 300 times since it was first published in 1975The main argument of Rachels article is that there is not really a distinction between passive and active euthanasia from a moral point of view So if we allow passive euthanasia we should allow active euthanasia as well Rachel starts his article stating the fact that the medical community as well as society in general seem to accept passive euthanasia as legally and morally permissible Passive euthanasia consists in cessation of treatment which will prolong the life of a serious ill patient The reasoning behind it is that some patients who are terminally ill or suffer from injuries congenital defects and lifethreatening medical conditions that cause intolerable suffering debilitating pain extremely low quality of life andor anticipation of the inevitable with horror as in the cause of Sue Rodriguez deserve to die with dignity and be relieved of their existence Rachels argues that if we accept passive euthanasia as both legally and morally permissible then we shouldnt have problems with active euthanasia either Active euthanasia is intentionally ending the life of the patient based on a request made by the patient with a lethal dose of barbiturates The way that people usually argue for passive euthanasia and against active euthanasia is that the former is letting someone die while the latter is killing someone Since killing is morally wrong then active euthanasia is morally wrong and therefore should be illegal While Rachels does not dispute the legal grounds for passive euthanasia according to him there is no moral distinction between the bare cases of letting die and killing in the context of euthanasia Rachels thinks that a doctor who lets someone die by not treating them and another doctor who gives someone a lethal injection are both in the same moral positiontheyve decided to terminate someones life on humane grounds out of compassion If eventually the disease of both patients turned out to be curable then the doctors decisions would be equally regrettable no matter which method was used to carry it out
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