Philosophy Final Exam
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
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
b. Brock’s Answer to FQE: Active euthanasia is always permissible when it is
c. Rachel’s Answer to FQE: Active euthanasia is morally permissible in any
circumstance in which passive euthanasia would be permissible.
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
iv. So, active euthanasia is wrong.
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.
i. 1.) Legalizing active euthanasia would have terrible, horrible
ii. 2.) If (1), then active euthanasia should not be legalized.
iii. 3.) So, active euthanasia should not be legal.
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.
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.
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
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