Philippa Foot

in Virtues and Vices

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780199252862
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597435 | DOI:

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A problem in medical ethics is examined in this discussion of euthanasia, which starts with a rejection of use of the term by the Nazis to describe their killing of unwanted mental patients. By definition, euthanasia must be supposed to be a good to the person killed. But it is difficult to decide when death is better than life, perhaps because we see a conceptual connexion between life and good. Distinctions are drawn between active and passive, voluntary and non‐voluntary euthanasia. A general legalization of euthanasia is opposed because of the dangers of abuse, but it is suggested that Living Wills and related contracts about treatment between doctors and patients should be allowed.

Keywords: death; doctors; euthanasia; medical ethics; Nazis; Living Wills

Chapter.  12367 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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