Euthanasia and the Active-Passive Distinction
Reichenbach, Bruce R.
Bioethics. 1987 Jan; 1(1): 51-73.
The author examines various claimed differences between active and passive euthanasia and, if there are differences, whether they are morally significant. He refutes arguments based on acting vs. not acting, intention, double effect, cause of death, and natural law theory. Reichenbach proposes that the most helpful distinction is the one between intentional killing (active euthanasia) and appropriate treatment for the dying or terminally ill (passive euthanasia). Significant moral difference, however, rests on the contention that intentional killing is always wrong and that, all else being equal, dying by natural means is intrinsically good, whereas dying by unnatural means is not. (KIE abstract)
Accountability; Active Euthanasia; Allowing to Die; Death; Double Effect; Ethical Analysis; Ethics; Euthanasia; Extraordinary Treatment; Intention; Killing; Law; Life; Moral Obligations; Moral Policy; Morality; Natural Law; Prolongation of Life; Passive Euthanasia; Suffering; Teleological Ethics; Terminally Ill; Withholding Treatment;
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