Synopsis: Rachels is concerned to show that the AMA’s doctrine on euthanasia– that passive euthanasia is morally permissible while active euthanasia is. The moral distinction between active and passive euthanasia, or between “killing ” and The philosopher James Rachels has an argument that shows that the. May 19, The late philosopher James Rachels published one of the most salient pieces on the euthanasia (E) debate in the New England Journal.

Author: Vugami Vuzahn
Country: Georgia
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Technology
Published (Last): 1 October 2007
Pages: 113
PDF File Size: 15.59 Mb
ePub File Size: 11.83 Mb
ISBN: 320-3-96769-489-2
Downloads: 14708
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Tumi

Only rules that apply to everyone can be accepted One well-known ethical principle says that we should only be guided by moral principles that we would accept should be followed by everyone. Jones will gain a large inheritance if his six-year-old cousin dies.

In either case, the matter is being decided on irrelevant grounds. Passive euthanasia Passive euthanasia passiive when the patient dies because the medical professionals either don’t do something necessary to keep the patient alive, or when they stop doing something that is keeping the patient alive.

Active and passive euthanasia.

Rachels is concerned to show that the AMA’s doctrine on euthanasia–that passive euthanasia is rache,s permissible while active euthanasia is morally impermissible, the so-called Conventional Doctrine on Euthanasia CDE –is false. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets CSS if you are able to do so.

Although most actual cases of killing are morally worse than most actual cases of letting die, we are more familiar with cases of killing especially the terrible ones that are reported in the mediabut we are less familiar with the details of letting die. Therefore 5 CDE is not ehthanasia. Causing their death swiftly is a lesser evil than allowing them to live in pain. The doctor stops giving A the drugs that are keeping him alive, but continues pain killers – A dies 3 days later, after having been in pain despite the doctor’s best efforts.


Active euthanasia is a lesser evil than passive euthanasia.

Let’s suppose that the reason A wants to die is because he wants to stop suffering pain, and that that’s the reason the doctor is willing to allow euthanasia adn each case. Doing something to bring about death is worse than not doing anything. They will let the child die.

They should be read as such. The humane thing to do is to let the patient die.

James Rachels on Euthanasia Notes – Applied Ethics

A asks his doctor to end it all. Smith will gain a large inheritance if his six-year-old cousin dies. But some people think this distinction is nonsense, since stopping treatment is a deliberate act, and so is deciding not to carry out a particular treatment. But the conventional doctrine often adds a requirement of suffering before dying. The rule that we should treat other people as we would like them to treat us also seems to support euthanasia, if we would want to be put out of our misery if we were in A’s position.

Instead, his conclusion is perhaps best expressed as a conditional: No-one would think that the doctor’s reply excused him in any way.

James Rachels has offered some other arguments that work differently. Table of Contents for the Online Textbook. Rachels does not want to deny that actual killings are often much worse than actual cases of letting die. Behind all this is the safe assumption that morality should drive policy. If CDE is true then killing is morally worse than letting die.

While the child is taking a bath one evening, Jones sneaks into the bathroom with the aim of drowning the child. However, active euthanasia physician-assisted death is never morally permissible. Therefore 6 CDE is true.


Active and passive euthanasia.

They are not intended for publication or general distribution. Return to Theodore Gracyk’s Home Page. But if not treated, affected children will die.

First argument against the conventional doctrine is that many cases of “letting die” are WORSE for the patient than is killing them. In situations for which passive euthanasia is permissible under this justification, there are no morally sound reason for prohibiting active rachrls, and in some cases, active euthanasia axtive morally preferable to passive euthanasia.

Care of the Dying. Active euthanasia reduces the total amount of pain A suffers, and so active euthanasia should be preferred in this case. Jones is delighted at his good fortune, and stands by as the child drowns.

Doctors faced with the problem of an incurable patient who wants to die have often felt it was morally better to withdraw treatment from a patient and let the patient die than to kill the patient perhaps with a lethal injection. It is not the case that killing is morally worse than letting die. Smith then arranges things aftive that it looks like the child accidentally drowned.

This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Therefore 4 Active euthanasia is worse than passive euthanasia. These are class notes, intended passife comment on readings and amplify class discussion. If you believe that euthanasia is always euthanawia, then this section is not worth reading. It is not the case that passive euthanasia never produces more suffering than active euthanasia.