Chapter

Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide

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/9780195140279.003.0002
Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide

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Something is amiss with the debate over euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. On the one side were liberals, who thought physician-assisted suicide and perhaps voluntary active euthanasia were ethically acceptable and should be legal; on the other side were conservatives, who believed assisted dying was immoral and/or dangerous to legalize as a matter of public policy. This chapter explores the richness of this debate by showing something of the terrain of the debate and the figures that have inhabited it, both the public figures and the academic ones partly behind the scenes. It examines the principal arguments for assisted dying, namely, the argument from autonomy and the argument from relief of pain and suffering, as well as the principal arguments against it, namely, the argument from the intrinsic wrongness of killing, the argument from the integrity of the profession, and the argument from potential abuse (known as the slippery-slope argument).

Keywords: physician-assisted suicide; euthanasia; autonomy; pain; suffering; wrongness of killing; dying; slippery-slope argument; integrity

Chapter.  15482 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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