Moral Intuition, Good Deaths and Ordinary Medical Practitioners
Journal of Medical Ethics. 1990 Mar; 16(1): 28-34.
Debate continues over the acts/omissions doctrine, and over the concepts of duty and charity. Such issues inform the debate over the moral permissibility of euthanasia. Recent papers have emphasised moral sensitivity, medical intuitions, and sub-standard palliative care as some of the factors which should persuade us to regard euthanasia as morally unacceptable. I argue that these lines of argument are conceptually misdirected and have no bearing on the bare permissibility of voluntary euthanasia. Further, some of the familiar slippery slope arguments against voluntary euthanasia compromise the principle of autonomy to which both supporters and opponents of euthanasia adhere. I discuss a model for doctor/patient relationships which can be applied to cases which would be seen by all disputants as strong prima facie cases for euthanasia. I argue that in certain cases it will be ordinary medical practitioners who are duty-bound to assist death.
Active Euthanasia; Allowing to Die; Assisted Suicide; Autonomy; Case Studies; Death; Ethical Analysis; Ethics; Euthanasia; Killing; Medical Ethics; Moral Obligations; Moral Policy; Palliative Care; Philosophy; Physician Patient Relationship; Physicians; Public Policy; Right to Die; Standards; Suffering; Suicide; Terminal Care; Treatment Refusal; Values; Voluntary Euthanasia;
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