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Taking LifeThree Theories on the Ethics of Killing$
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Torbjorn Tannsjo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190225575

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190225575.001.0001

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Assisted Death

Assisted Death

Chapter:
(p.143) Chapter 7 Assisted Death
Source:
Taking Life
Author(s):

Torbjörn Tännsjö

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190225575.003.0007

This chapter defines assisted death as an active and intentional killing of a person suffering from a terminal and painful disease in order to spare this person further suffering. According to deontology, assisted death is wrong, period, even if the principle of double effect permits a merely foreseen but not intended hastening of death. With regard to the moral rights theory, assisted death is permitted given that it is voluntary. Concerning utilitarianism, positive and negative externalities must be taken into account. It is noted that much of the extant discussion about legalization of assisted death is in fact conducted in utilitarian terms, and it is argued that utilitarianism seems to offer the best explanation of our considered intuitions about assisted death.

Keywords:   assisted death, euthanasia, physician assisted suicide, end-of-life decision, slippery slope, principle of double effect, acts and omissions

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