Euthanasia and Common Sense: A Reply to Garcia
The Journal of medicine and philosophy 2011 Jun; 36(3): 321-7
J. L. A. Garcia holds that my defense of voluntary euthanasia in an earlier paper amounts to an "assault on traditional common sense" about what medical ethics permits physicians to do, particularly insofar as I hold that a physician's duty to abstain from intentionally killing is only a defeasible duty, not an unconditional one. But I argue here that it is Garcia's views that are more at odds with common sense, and that voluntary euthanasia is in fact a humane alternative that respects patient autonomy and is consistent with the most fundamental moral duties of physicians. Among these is a duty to relieve suffering, which can sometimes outweigh the fundamental duty to conserve life.
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