Euthanasia papers..

Thinking Cat (1)

My running thoughts on this crop of papers…

  • Unless you are using a non-standard definition of a word, you shouldn’t include the dictionary definition of the word — so, it’s safe to assume that I know what ‘euthanasia’ means, don’t reveal  your ignorance by telling me you had to look it up in order to write the paper…. the meaning of the word should have been a question  you asked the first time you did the readings…
  • Rachels and Sullivan disagree — because Rachels thinks it’s permissible and perhaps preferable to use active euthanasia when the patient is in significant pain, and Sullivan does not.  He uses the drowning examples to show that killing and letting die are similar… not only should you refrain from acting to drown the kid, you should also pull him out of the pond..
  • Pay attention to the auto-correct suggestions, and choose carefully.
  • The paper prompt is there for a reason — because I want to see how you understand the material.  It’s NOT optional.
  • It’s STILL not the case that utilitarianism is “the greatest good for the greatest number of people” —
  • If you copy and paste directly from the internet, chances are the writing is above a college freshman level and I might notice.  IF I find your paper on the internet, I’ll give you a 0 for the course, and perhaps worse.  Don’t do this!

In general, specific explanations help your position.  Just saying that there is no difference between active and passive euthanasia isn’t helpful (are they both morally permissible or not?) — but, if you extend the analysis by saying that both are choices of a person to end a life, just like it’s a decision to tell a lie or stay silent when someone lies, then you’re more clear.  IF there is a difference explain that by saying that there is a difference because HOW someone dies is important — “nature” taking its course is different from a person who chooses to use artificial means to end a life.

Also, it helps to contrast the ethical theories underlying the Rachels and Sullivan articles.  Rachels is applying utilitarianism, so he concludes that less pain is experienced by the patient when that person’s life ends sooner via active euthanasia.  Sullivan is concerned about a person making a decision to end a life, which is more deontological in nature — the person’s motive to end the life via their own actions is important, just like it’s wrong to intend to tell a lie etc..


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Filed under Applied Ethics, Medical Ethics

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