Taking Human Life
Brock, Dan W.
Ethics. 1985 Jul; 95(4): 851-865.
Alan Donagan's position regarding the morality of taking innocent human life, that it is impermissible regardless of the wishes of the victim, is criticized by Brock who argues for a rights-based alternative. His argument appeals to the nature of persons' actual interest in life and gives them an additional element of control which they lack if a nonwaivable moral duty not to kill prevails. The author rejects Donagan's view that stopping a life-sustaining treatment, even when a competent patient has consented, is morally wrong and that there is no moral difference between killing and allowing to die. A rights-based position permits stopping treatment of incompetent patients based on what the patient would have wanted or what is in his or her best interest, and allows the withholding of treatment from a terminally ill person, with the patient's consent and for a benevolent motive, to be evaluated as morally different from killing that patient. (KIE abstract)
Allowing to Die; Autonomy; Competence; Consent; Deontological Ethics; Ethical Analysis; Ethics; Informed Consent; Killing; Life; Moral Obligations; Morality; Nature; Patients; Philosophy; Right to Die; Rights; Suicide; Teleological Ethics; Terminally Ill; Treatment Refusal; Value of Life; Withholding Treatment;
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