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Philosophy 237 Summary of All Texts, 2011 Winter.docx

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PHIL 237
Catherine Lu

Phil 237 Tiger Zheng Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Euthanasia The act or practice of killing or allowing someone to die on grounds of mercy Passive euthanasia withholding some form of treatment, which, had it been administered, would have prolonged the life of the patient Active euthanasia Actively intervening to bring about a patients death Voluntary Euthanasia patient has consented to the active bringing about of his or her death or to some means of passively allowing her to die Non-voluntary euthanasia those in which the patient ahs not expressed a view about what others may do in case he goes into a vegetative state Involuntary euthanasia Patient expresses, or is presumed to have, a desire not to be the subject of euthanasia Gay-Williams The Wrongfulness of Euthanasia Defines euthanasia as the deliberate and intentional killing of someone passive euthanasia is not relevant to this, as it is not killing, but letting die. Aim of passive euthanasia is to spare the person additional and unjustifiable pain, and hopeless manipulations 1. Argument from nature a. Humans have natural inclinations to continue living; euthanasia runs fundamentally against this principle. b. Dignity comes from seeking our ends 2. The argument from self-interest a. Contains an inherent risk of working against our self-interest; that is, medical advances may emerge to save ourselves. b. We cannot reconsider euthanasia: death is final c. Euthanasia may occur to lessen financial strain et cetera for others 3. The argument from practical effects a. Corrupting influence: doctors and nurses might not try hard enough to save the patient. b. The patient would be allowed to deputize others to make a decision, and the slippery slope follows that this may be exploited to a certain degree of eugenics. James Rachels Active and Passive Euthanasia Argues against the distinction in the American Medical Associations policy between active and passive euthanasia. Questions whether killing is worse than letting die. Once the initial decision is made to withhold treatment (the reason being that the patient is in terrible agony, and it would be wrong to needlessly prolong his suffering), active euthanasia is preferable and more consistent with the reasoning. States that the AMA policy denies that passive euthanasia is the intentional termination of life. 1 Phil 237 Tiger Zheng o Argues that there is no moral distinction between the two Bonnie Steinbock The Intentional Termination of Life Steinbocks essay is a response to Rachels, in that she insists there is a fundamental difference between the two modes of euthanasia: intent, rather than result. Emphasizes the difference between intending the patient to die and foreseeing and expecting the death. The cessation of life-prolonging treatment need not necessarily intend the death of the patient o Refusal of treatment: In this case, the cessation is valuing the prima facie right of self-determination over treatment. Steinbock reasserts though, that this is not the right to death o Continued treatment has little chance of improving the patients condition, and brings more discomfort. She emphasizes the difference between ordinary and extraordinary treatment the former being what all doctors should provide. Dan Brock Voluntary Active Euthanasia Brock argues for the moral permissibility of euthanasia for two reasons: the value of autonomy and the value of well-being. He then argues that the moral-center objection to euthanasia misrepresents the aim of medicine. Everyone has unique conceptions of what constitutes a good life, and is guaranteed the right of self-determination to pursue this conception. o This right extends to the time and method of death, so long as the patient is a capable judge, since it retains the dignity of the person. Individual well being treatment may not be of sufficient quality, and such a life may be worse than no life at all These two values ONLY apply to competent and capable patients The moral center of medicine should be committed to these two values. Richard Doerflinger Pro-Choice or Anti-Life Doerflinger objects to the moral permissibility of suicide by attempting to refute the key arguments for it Pro-Choice o Doerflinger argues that pro-choice views prove too much: If death is objectively preferable to life, than where is the line drawn? o Argument against dignity Doerflinger states that when arguing for Euthanasia, the point is to emphasize personal freedoms. This is invalid because death deprives people of all future freedoms It also detracts from the potential freedom of the future, in that advances might be made Slippery Slope o Substituted judgement Others may end up deciding for the mentally incompetent patient. 2 Phil 237 Tiger Zheng o Expanded definitions of terminal illness If active euthanasia were permitted, there is no reason to believe that this extended definition would be limited o Prejudice Against Citizens with Disabilities if definitions are expanded to include people of severe physical or mental disability it will increase patient pressure to choose death o Character of the Medical Profession there will be increase in pressure to make euthanasia and killing more accepted by society, resulting in the loss of character of doctors. o Human Will to Power humans enjoy exercising power over others, this may lead to more problems in the future if the boundaries between euthanasia and killing blur. David T. Watts and Timothy Howell Assisted Suicide is NOT Voluntary Active Euthanasia This paper focuses on the distinctions between physician-assisted suicide and Euthanasia. Voluntary Active Euthanasia Administration of medications or other interventions intended to cause death at a patients request Assisted suicide Provision of information, means, or direct assistance by which a patient may take his or her own life. This includes several possible levels of assistance, from providing information to providing the means, to supervising the act. Each level has different implications: The first allows for the most control in time and method, whereas the last carries a great deal of physician control of the process. In this article, only the first two are permissible. Potential abuse of vulnerable persons o Ultimate decision is the patients, not the physicians. There is a check and balance placed on physician initiation and patient acquiescence. o That the patient must him/herself apply commit the ultimate act acts as a sufficient safeguard, and it is the physicians role in determining whether or not these are unduly influenced. o Assisted suicide does not have the same issues of consent associated with euthanasia Potential undermining of trust between patients and physicians o Though public opinion of physicians allowing euthanasia is low, it is much greater for physicians allowing for assisted suicide. o It is inhumane to allow to people to suffer for the sake of the integrity of the medical profession Potential for the weakening of societal resolve to increase resources for the dying o Assisted suicide would not be used often The Ethical Treatment of Animals 3 Phil 237 Tiger Zheng Direct Moral Standing: Something that, independent of its relation to other things or creatures, deserves to be given moral consideration by agents who are capable of making moral choices. Some authors argue that this also comes with duties Indirect Moral Standing: Something that deserves moral consideration only because it is related to something with direct moral standing. Gaverick Matheny Utilitarianism and Animals Basic principle: One cannot reasonably claim that their interests mater more simply because they are theirs. Utilitarianism: An ethical theory that one should act in such away to maximize the expected satisfaction of the interests in the world. o Universalist: it takes into account the interests of all those who are affected by an action. o Welfarist: What is ethically good is defined in terms of peoples welfare. o Consequentialist: It evaluates the rightness or wrongness of an action by what the actions expected consequences are. o Aggregative: It adds up the interests of all those affected by the action o It is advantageous because it has a greater degree of empirical objectivity than most ethical theories. Interests of Non-Humans o All sentient creatures have an interest in a pleasurable life.
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