James rachels argument against the traditional medical doctrine in active and passive euthanasia

What we believe may be naive or mistaken. Killing a person, even one so pitiable as Mrs Florian, is therefore an offence against the Creator. The infant could live a normal life, but in this circumstance, an intestinal blockage will cause death in a matter of days. I found his thought experiment with the two kids in the bathtub to be very compelling.

In considering these questions, I will assume that moral philosophy may be revisionary, and not merely descriptive. But, legal questions aside, was his act immoral? But why is it wrong, and when may exceptions be made?

Both had the intention to kill the child. There does exist, however, a moral dilemma between the distinctions of passive and active euthanasia. The result is the same, the intent is the same, the only difference is the action, or a lack thereof. Was it wrong for Hans Florian to have killed his wife?

This situation proves that although there may not be a concrete distinction between killing and letting die, there is always a conscious decision made that evaluates the morality of the situation. Although most actual cases of killing are morally worse than most actual cases of letting die, we are more familiar with cases of killing especially the terrible ones that are reported in the mediabut we are less familiar with the details of letting die.

The distinction between killing and letting die has no moral importance. Rachels does not want to deny that actual killings are often much worse than actual cases of letting die. In this essay I shall examine the ideas and assumptions that lie behind one of the most important moral rules, the rule against killing.

Rachels argues in this paper that CDE is false. This does not apply however, to the world of medicine.

Its development has been one of the great intellectual achievements of Western culture, accomplished by thinkers of great ingenuity and high moral purpose. So, in general, killing people is said to be gravely wrong, while killing other animals requires almost no justification at all.

CDE is false if passive euthanasia and active euthanasia are both morally permissible.

If Rachels is to use this argument, then the decision of life or death should be made on a case-by-case basis. He intentionally killed an innocent human being, and, according to our tradition, that is always wrong.

And the CMA has recently recommended that doctors not engage in assisted suicide or active euthanasia. However, active euthanasia physician-assisted death is never morally permissible.

And, on the strength of this, one may continue to doubt whether Mr Florian acted correctly. We may certainly feel sympathy for Hans Florian; he faced a terrible situation, and acted from honourable motives. The point of the rule against killing is the protection of lives and the interests that some beings, including ourselves, have in virtue of the fact that we are subjects of lives.

However, some unfortunate humans, such as Mrs Florian, do not have lives, even though they are alive; and so killing them is a morally different matter. Doctors are not concerned with personal gain or the intentional murder of an individual, they only wish to apply the correct procedure if that ensures the patient has no further use for his or her life.

However, a good argument does not automatically imply a valid argument. Smith will gain a large inheritance if his six-year-old cousin dies. Hence, it is a mistake to think that killing is intrinsically worse than letting die.ii. Doctrine challenged: 1. Active is more humane than passive (mostly) 2.

Conventional doctrine leads to decisions concerning life/death on irrelevant grounds 3. Doctrine rests on a distinction between killing and letting die that itself has no moral distinctions 4. The most common arguments in favor of the doctrine are invalid b. Rachels challenges: i. The late philosopher James Rachels published one of the most salient pieces on the euthanasia (E) debate in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Active and Passive Euthanasia.” Here is a brief outline of his argument.

The distinction between active euthanasia (AE) and passive (PE) is thought crucial. James Rachels on Active and Passive Euthanasia (in James E.

White text) The Conventional Doctrine (endorsed by the American Medical Association): In certain situations, passive euthanasia ("letting die") is morally permissible. However, active euthanasia (physician-assisted death) is never morally permissible.

Active and Passive Euthanasia James Rachels Abstract The traditional distinction between active and passive euthanasia requires critical analysis. The conventional doctrine is that there is such an important moral difference between the two that, although the latter is sometimes permissible, the former is always forbidden.

Rachels, “Active and Passive Euthanasia”

The End of Life Euthanasia and Morality James Rachels (Oxford University Press, ) published in English, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, and Serbo-Croatian Active and passive euthanasia Killing and letting die contrary to reason.

The material presented in this essay adds up to a systematic argument against the traditional view and a. Rachels is concerned to show that the AMA's doctrine on euthanasia--that passive euthanasia is morally permissible while active euthanasia is morally impermissible, the so-called Conventional Doctrine on Euthanasia (CDE)--is false.

Article: “Active and Passive Euthanasia” by James Rachels Download
James rachels argument against the traditional medical doctrine in active and passive euthanasia
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