Chapter

Introduction

Margaret Pabst Battin

in Ending Life

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780195140279
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850280 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195140279.003.0001
Introduction

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The death-and-dying debates, especially where they focus on physician-assisted dying — euthanasia and suicide — involve five central arguments — two pro, three con. These include two arguments for moral acceptance and/or legalization, the argument from autonomy or self-determination and the argument from the relief of pain and suffering, sometimes also called the argument from mercy. On the other side, the principal arguments against assisted dying include the argument from the intrinsic wrongness of killing, the argument concerning the integrity of the medical profession, and the argument about the potential for abuse, the so-called slippery-slope argument. This book challenges assumptions about how we can and should die, illuminates the structure of arguments for and against physician-assisted suicide, explores the morality of suicide (the deepest issue underlying the death-and-dying controversies that are visible in public debate), speculates a bit about how the future might look and what we should be prepared for, and looks for possibilities of resolution in these ancient, yet new, debates.

Keywords: physician-assisted suicide; euthanasia; autonomy; self-determination; pain; suffering; mercy; dying; slippery-slope argument

Chapter.  6065 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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