Restoring the inviolability of life and replacing the caricature

John Keown

in The Law and Ethics of Medicine

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199589555
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741036 | DOI:
Restoring the inviolability of life and replacing the caricature

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The chapter illustrates the misunderstanding of the inviolability of life by contemporary medical lawyers. It evaluates criticisms which have been levelled at the principle by Professors David Price and Emily Jackson. It notes that Price fails to distinguish “quality of life benefits” from “beneficial quality of life” and conflates intention and foresight, and that his alternative to the principle is both vague and arbitrary. The chapter proceeds to consider Professor Jackson’s criticisms that the inviolability of life is both “religious” and “speciesist”. Its rejects both criticisms as based on a misunderstanding of the principle. It concludes that the alternative approach advocated by Professor Jackson, which distinguishes between “persons” and “non-persons” and lives which are judged worth living and those which are judged not worth living is, like that of Professor Price, both vague and arbitrary and would endanger vulnerable patients such as those with intellectual disabilities.

Keywords: David Price; Emily Jackson; inviolability of life; quality of life; religious; speciesist

Chapter.  9130 words. 

Subjects: Medical and Healthcare Law

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