Chapter

Euthanasia and the Law

John Finnis

in Human Rights and Common Good

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580071
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729393 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580071.003.0017
Euthanasia and the Law

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Composed for live debate with Dworkin, the chapter considers not the morality of euthanasia but the sound moral and political arguments that have persuaded almost all commissions of enquiry (e.g. the Walton Committee, New York State Task Force) that it should not be legalized. These arguments draw on facts, e.g., official but poorly understood statistics relating to the consequences of legalizing it in Holland. The very different definitions of euthanasia used by Dworkin, the Dutch, the Ninth Circuit in Compassion in Dying v Washington, and common speech are identified. Other topics discussed in this chapter include intention, autonomy, professional ethics and character, Dworkin's Life's Dominion, will to power, Nietzschean aesthetic conceptions of life, and the substantial irrelevance of pain in modern conditions.

Keywords: euthanasia; definitions; Walton Committee; New York State Task Force; Compassion in Dying; Holland; Dworkin; Life's Dominion; pain; Nietzsche

Chapter.  10261 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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