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The Patient's Wish to DieResearch, Ethics, and Palliative Care$
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Christoph Rehmann-Sutter, Heike Gudat, and Kathrin Ohnsorge

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198713982

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198713982.001.0001

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Towards responsive knowing in matters of life and death

Towards responsive knowing in matters of life and death

(p.139) Chapter 13 Towards responsive knowing in matters of life and death
The Patient's Wish to Die

Marian A. Verkerk

Oxford University Press

In matters of life and death we should practise forms of responsive knowing: we should be epistemically just towards each other. When applied to the moral conversation between doctor and patient, this means that the doctor needs to be as attentive as she can towards both the needs of her patient and to her own prejudices. But both parties should also be aware of the fact that their private discourse is always a socially and culturally situated one. And so they need to be aware of oppressive master narratives about what makes life meaningful. It is not only the doctor who has an epistemic responsibility here. Patients have a responsibility as well. If we want to consider euthanasia as a moral practice in which patients practise their autonomy with regard to death, then we also need to acknowledge the responsibility they bear.

Keywords:   euthanasia, epistemic responsibility, responsive knowing, master narratives, autonomy

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