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Tom Hurka

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November 23, 2009 Euthanasia-highlights issues about the difference between doing/allowing and intending/foreseeing. Sue Rodriguez-ALS-infringed on her rights to make decisions on her own body, the law as upheld, she was assisted to end her life; no one was prosecuted because it was done in secret. Robert Latimer-killed his daughter with carbon monoxide, was convicted of second degree murder, he was motivated by a concern for his daughter’s life and her best interest Rachels-AMA policy -concerned with an alleged moral difference between active and passive euthanasia, a difference between doing/allowing -it is permissible to withhold treatment, but it is never permissible to take direct action designed to kill the patient Euthanasia-a good death, a death that is brought about either actively or passively because it is thought to be in the patient’s best interest Familiar case-someone with a terminal disease, going to die shortly, the disease is painful and can’t be treated with medication, you bring about their death in order to spare them that pain Nazi-Euthanasia program-was not a euthanasia program Voluntary-with a patients request ex. Sue Rodriguez Involuntary-because you think it’s in the patient’s interest without the patient’s consent Main argument of Rachel’s-there is no moral difference between active and passive euthanasia, it is a mistake to think that active euthanasia is forbidden and passive is allowed -can either say both are permitted or both are forbidden Rachel’s thinks that they are both permitted. His judgment depends on the idea that when euthanasia will reduce suffering then it is a preferred moral choice. His argument is like Singer’s-utilitarian argument. 113-Rachels is a utilitarian-if one simply withholds treatment it may take the patient longer to die, then if a lethal injection was given. Active euthanasia is preferable to passive euthanasia because less suffering will occur. Attack of the doing/allowing distinction-Smith/Jones example Rachels says-if the distinction between doing/allowing is important, then there would be a moral difference between Smith’s actions and Jones actions. Their actions are equally wrong, the distinction here makes no difference. Distinction between intending/foreseeing-when Smith goes up and holds the cousin’s head under the water, he is intending the death as a means to getting the money. When Jones goes up and doesn’t save the cousin he is still intending. -applies it to a medical practice involving babies with down-syndrome Steinbock-is Rachels right that the AMA policy favors that choice? Rachels is misreading the AMA policy, there are two reasons why letting the babies wither and die is not consistent with that policy, it is not a case of the cessation of treatment that they think is permissible. -you need irrefutable evidence that death is imminent no matter what you do The downs babies will not die soon no matter what you do in that case. If you perform the intestinal
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