Terminal Procedure

Margaret Pabst Battin

in Ending Life

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780195140279
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850280 | DOI:
Terminal Procedure

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This is an account of the emotional impact of experiments on animals (in this case, dogs). The gut reaction on which this story trades (known in bioethics as the “yuck” factor) is often used as an argument in public policy discussion; the question it serves to raise is whether exploitation of the yuck factor is a legitimate move in rational argumentation or a bogus appeal to the emotions. It is crucial for bioethicists to keep in mind the unsettling, stomach-disturbing, conscience-trying unease that acquiescing in, or contributing indirectly to, or actively taking part in ending life can produce. This story does not focus on the theoretical considerations bioethics offers about killing and letting die, life-termination and so on; it is about the way the “yuck” response can well up in one's throat, even though the ending of life is in the interests of science, even though the conditions are intended as humane, and even though in the end it involves dogs, not people.

Keywords: dogs; yuck factor; bioethics; science; emotions; killing; experiments

Chapter.  7647 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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