The Imprecise Language of Euthanasia and Causing Death
Devettere, Raymond J.
Journal of Clinical Ethics. 1990 Winter; 1(4): 268-274.
"In the debate about euthanasia, imprecision of language abounds." Indeed it does, and such a lack of precision befuddles public discussion of this emotional issue. Much of the imprecision arises because so many opponents of euthanasia take it for granted that causing death is wrong outside the classic exceptions of just war, capital punishment, and self-defense. This assumption clearly rules out euthanasia, but it also prevents us from describing morally acceptable interventions and omissions that obviously, and sometimes immediately, bring about death in any language connoting causing that death. Thus, we are forced to describe shutting off respirators or ceasing nutrition as if these actions had no causal impact on a patient's death. The result is imprecise language.
Abortion; Active Euthanasia; Allowing to Die; Capital Punishment; Communication; Death; Double Effect; Drugs; Ethical Analysis; Ethics; Euthanasia; Fetuses; Health; Hearts; Intention; Killing; Maternal Health; Moral Policy; Nutrition; Organ Donation; Organizational Policies; Organizations; Pain; Persistent Vegetative State; Philosophy; Physicians; Pregnant Women; Professional Organizations; Punishment; Resource Allocation; Roman Catholic Ethics; Respirators; Selection for Treatment; Siblings; Surgery; Terminal Care; Terminally Ill; Terminology; Theology; Therapeutic Abortion; Twins; War;
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