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University of Massachusetts Amherst
PHIL 164

Philosophy Final Exam 12/11/10 1.) Phil. 164 def. Euthanasia: Killing another person for his/her own sake or letting another person die for his/her own sake. a. Active Euthanasia: killing another person for his/her own sake. (Doctor gives patient lethal injection to end suffering). b. Passive Euthanasia: Letting another person die for his/her own sake. c. Voluntary: Euthanasia with the person’s will (agrees/consents to). d. Involuntary: Euthanasia that’s against the person’s will (does not want to be euthanized). e. Non-voluntary: Euthanasia that’s neither with nor against the person’s will (neither agrees nor disagrees to being euthanized). 2.) Fundamental Question of Euthanasia: (FQE): Under what circumstances, if any, is active euthanasia morally permissible? a. Gay Williams’ Answer to FQE: Active Euthanasia is not permissible in any circumstances. b. Brock’s Answer to FQE: Active euthanasia is always permissible when it is voluntary. c. Rachel’s Answer to FQE: Active euthanasia is morally permissible in any circumstance in which passive euthanasia would be permissible. 3.) Present: a. Gay-Williams’ argument from Nature. i. 1.) Every human has a natural inclination to continue living. ii. 2.) If (1), then active-euthanasia is acting against nature. iii. If active euthanasia is acting against nature, then active euthanasia is wrong. iv. So, active euthanasia is wrong. b. Explain: i. Rationale 1: Human beings have reflexes to keep us alive. We are structured for survival down to the molecular level. For example, we heal and fight off sickness. ii. Rationale 2: If life is natural (naturally staying alive), then killing a person is acting against nature; thus, active euthanasia acts against someone’s nature because it is the same as killing. By definition, active euthanasia is going against the natural inclination towards wanting to live by the human body. It is intuitive that killing goes against nature. iii. Rationale 3: By definition, anything that goes against [nature] is wrong. Thus, intuitively appealing to the natural way of things: if it is in accordance with nature then it is right. c. Evaluate: This is valid: in multiple modus ponens. i. This is not sound. This is because premise three should be rejected and is intuitively wrong. Based on premise three, if a person were to get glasses or fix a tooth decay, then it is wrong because it is going against nature. This is not right intuitively. It is ok to get one’s vision fixed using glasses or to fix tooth decay. It is intuitively not wrong to do these things. 4.) Present: Gay-williams’ Argument from Practical effects. a. Argument: i. 1.) Legalizing active euthanasia would have terrible, horrible consequences. ii. 2.) If (1), then active euthanasia should not be legalized. iii. 3.) So, active euthanasia should not be legal. b. Explain: i. Rationale one: It is a slippery slope. It is intuitive that if one legalizes active euthanasia, then people will become more comfortable taking their own life. If this occurs, then there would be more suicides and more non- voluntary euthanasia would arise. This would then lead to involuntary euthanasia and there would be an overall decline in quality care. The doctors would stop trying to save patients. ii. Rationale two: This is intuitive. If it is going to have terrible, horrible, consequences then it should not be legalized. It does not make sense to do something if one knows that it would yield a terrible consequence. c. Evaluate: Valid: Modus ponens. Not sound. Premise two should be rejected. Making it illegal is has even worse consequences than not making it illegal. People will still commit suicide and more money will be spent keeping people who are on the verge of death or in a vegetative state alive. Thus, it is intuitive that it would most likely not yield those consequences and would be even worse if active euthanasia were to be made illegal. 5.) Self-determination: Freely carrying out you own decisions. Freedom to do what you want. It is hard to use as an argument to support euthanasia because we do not freely carry out the act of active euthanasia and someone else does it. One only has a right to kill self, but not the right to have others kill you. 6.) AMA’s Position on Euthanasia: Does not approve of active euthanasia and passive euthanasia should be the decision of the patient or his/her family. Passive euthanasia is often ok (when the patient is near death and it is consented to by the patient or his/her family. But active euthanasia is never ok. 7.) Present: a. The baby Joey Argument: A baby with Down syndrome has a congenital defect that results in an intestinal destruction causing it great pain. Death is imminent. The baby consents for him to be euthanized. [the baby doesn’t consent. Rather, its parents consent for it.] i. 1.) According to the AMA policy, it is ok to passively euthanize baby Joey but not actively euthanize him. ii. 2.) If (1), then the AMA policy should be rejected. iii. 3.) So, the AMA policy should be rejected. b. Explain: i. Premise 1: Passive Euthanasia defn in the above. If passive euthanasia is ok in this case, then so is active euthanasia because the baby suffers less. In addition, the people around the baby will suffer less as well. This definition is true because by definition it is ok to passively euthanize the baby. [this looks more like a rationale for P2. For the rationale for P1, just say what the AMA policy is, and explain how it applies to Baby Joey’s scenario.] ii. Premise 2: The second premise is true because intuitively, it is counterintuitive to say that passive euthanasia is ok but not active euthanasia. This is because the results are the same in the end and will result in less suffering for the people and the baby. [you should also add that if the AMA policy is counterintuitive, then it should be rejected.] iii. Evaluate: It is valid: Modus Ponens. Modus Ponens def
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