When Self-Determination Runs Amok
Hastings Center Report. 1992 Mar-Apr; 22(2): 52-55.
The euthanasia debate is not just another moral debate, one in a long list of arguments in our pluralistic society. It is profoundly emblematic of three important turning points in Western thought. The first is that of the legitimate conditions under which one person can kill another....The second turning point lies in the meaning and limits of self-determination....The third turning point is to be found in the claim being made upon medicine: it should be prepared to make its skills available to individuals to help them achieve their private vision of the good life....I believe that, at each of these three turning points, proponents of euthanasia push us in the wrong direction. Arguments in favor of euthanasia fall into four general categories, which I will take up in turn: (1) the moral claim of individual self-determination and well-being; (2) the moral irrelevance of the difference between killing and allowing to die; (3) the supposed paucity of evidence to show likely harmful consequences of legalized euthanasia; and (4) the compatibility of euthanasia and medical practice.
Active Euthanasia; Allowing to Die; Assisted Suicide; Autonomy; Common Good; Euthanasia; Goals; Involuntary Euthanasia; Killing; Law; Law Enforcement; Life; Medicine; Misconduct; Moral Obligations; Moral Policy; Morality; Patients; Physician's Role; Physicians; Public Policy; Rights; Social Impact; Suffering; Suicide; Value of Life; Values; Voluntary Euthanasia;
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Miller, Ronald B.; Lieberson, Alan D.; Rosenberg, Mark; La Puma, John; Miedema, Felicia; Wolf, Susan M.; Boyle, Philip; Callahan, Daniel; Fins, Joseph J.; Jennings, Bruce; Nelson, James Lindemann; Barondess, Jeremiah A.; Brock, Dan W.; Dresser, Rebecca; Emanuel, Linda; Johnson, Sandra; Lantos, John; Mason, DaCosta R.; Mezey, Mathy; Orentlicher, David; Rouse, Fenella (1992-05-28)
Wolf, Susan M.; Boyle, Philip; Callahan, Daniel; Fins, Joseph J.; Jennings, Bruce; Nelson, James Lindemann; Barondess, Jeremiah A.; Brock, Dan W.; Dresser, Rebecca; Emanuel, Linda; Johnson, Sandra; Lantos, John; Mason, DaCosta R.; Mezey, Mathy; Orentlicher, David; Rouse, Fenella (1991-12-05)Advance directives have provoked a number of reservations. As the PSDA [Patient Self-Determination Act] goes into effect, requiring discussion and implementation of directives, it will be essential to address physicians' further ...