Euthanasia and Justice

John Finnis

in Human Rights and Common Good

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580071
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729393 | DOI:
Euthanasia and Justice

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This chapter brings together the three phases of a rolling debate with John Harris about the justifiability of euthanasia. The senses of ‘euthanasia’ are carefully distinguished; the defining importance of intention is underlined and illustrated, and intention's moral significance is explored. The moral wrongness of choosing to terminate life is argued for as an implication of the reality of personhood and good of life even in the very young, very ill, or very old. The individuality of the early conceptus and the significance of radical capacity are explained against Harris's misunderstandings. The idea of the person in Harris and in Dworkin is discussed, as well as Dworkin's concept of critical interests. The final phases of the debate concern voluntary verses involuntary euthanasia, responsibility for side effects, the idea that some people ‘should die’, the dualism involved in denying radical capacity's significance, and the unfair implications of autonomous choices to be killed.

Keywords: euthanasia; intention; personhood; individuals; radical capacity; Dworkin; John Harris; critical interests; autonomy; side effects

Chapter.  14391 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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