PHL 223 Week 3
PHL 223 Week 3 PHL 223
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Paola Araque on Saturday February 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHL 223 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Stuart Rachels in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 32 views. For similar materials see Medical Ethics in PHIL-Philosophy at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.
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Date Created: 02/06/16
Medical Ethics Notes: Week 3 Lecture ● Brain Death: ○ Harvard criteria: loss of nearly all brain activity and there are 2 flat EEGs. ● The Uniform Brain Death Act (1978) ○ irreversible loss of all brain function. (law in all 50 states) ● The Irreversibility Standard ○ when unconsciousness is irreversible (NOT a law) ● The Cognitive Criterion ○ Loss of core mental properties such as reason, memory, and self awareness. ○ “Biographical life” is what matters, not “Biological life” ● James Rachels ○ “Active and Passive Euthanasia” ■ The legal distinction between active and passive euthanasia is unjustified ■ Why is active euthanasia murder? Why is passive euthanasia morally permissible? ■ Active euthanasia is often more humane than passive euthanasia. ■ Suppose someone… ● has throat cancer and is in great pain. ● he/she must die within 48 hours, and begs the doctor to kill him/her. ● it would be humane to kill him. ● Compassion, Well Being, Mercy ● The value of autonomy can also favor active euthanasia ● If a competent adult wants to die, this is a reason (small or big) to kill him. ● But isn’t killing worse, in itself, than letting die? ● Rachels: Consider two cases that are just the same,except that one is a case of killing, the other of letting die. ○ same motive: both want to kill for personal gain ○ same result: the child dies by drowning ○ the only difference is that Smith kills, while Jones lets die. ○ Rachels: what Smith and Jones do is equally bad. ● So active and passive euthanasia, in themselves are on a moral par. ● Rachel’s main argument ○ passive euthanasia and active euthanasia are, in themselves, ethically equivalent.(justified by Smith/Jones) ○ passive euthanasia is often less human than active euthanasia (justified by throat cancer patient) ○ conclusion: if passive euthanasia is okay (morally and legally) then active euthanasia should be okay too. ● Why do people think killing is so much worse than letting di ? ○ society and its upbringing ○ they have never faced the challenge of being in that situation. ● Rachels: because they have in mind the paradigm (standard, typical) cases ● Paradigm case of killing: ○ cold blooded murder ● Paradigm case of letting die: ○ a merciful act involving someone who is dying and suffering ○ this case of killing is worse than this case of letting die ● But it’s killing healthy person vs. letting someone die who is dying and suffering. ● GayWilliams’ Objections: ○ euthanasia goes against our natural instincts. ■ but often we should go against nature...poisons are natural ■ it is so important to thnatura as not just a moral term ○ the possibility of being cured (often a naive hope) ● How to deal with the dying: ○ do not deny the fact that they are going to die. ○ be as optimistic as you can be, without losing the touch of reality.
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