The distinction between active and passive euthanasia is thought to be crucial for medical ethics. The idea is that it is James Rachels. James Rachels. The late philosopher James Rachels published one of the most salient pieces on the euthanasia (E) debate in the New England Journal. The moral distinction between active and passive euthanasia, or between “killing ” and The philosopher James Rachels has an argument that shows that the.

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Active euthanasia is a lesser evil than passive euthanasia.

The rule that we should treat other people as we would like them to treat us also seems to support euthanasia, if we actie want to be put out of our misery if we were in A’s position.

Our goal is to prevent further unnecessary suffering. Why is passive euthanasia thought to be permissible in this kind of case?

Active and passive euthanasia

Doctors can withhold treatment in many circumstances, and does nothing euuthanasia if the patient dies, but the doctor must never, ever “kill” the patient. This section is written from the presumption that there are occasions when euthanasia is morally OK. Return to Theodore Gracyk’s Home Page. In situations for which passive euthanasia is permissible under this justification, there are no morally sound reason for prohibiting active euthanasia, and in some cases, active euthanasia is morally preferable to passive euthanasia.


Arthur Hugh Clough Lowe – – Philosophy 55 Consider a familiar kind of case in which someone is dying of pqssive incurable form of cancer. You might argue that we can’t jamez the case of a doctor who is trying to do their best for their patient with Smith and Jones who are obvious villains.

Just as Jones enters the bathroom, however, the child slips, hits his head, and falls face down in the water.

According to the doctrine of acts and omissions Smith is morally guiltier than Jones, since he actively killed the child, while Jones just allowed the boy to die. But if it has no defect, there is nothing we can do. Fiona Woollard rchels – Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 3: Switching off a respirator requires someone to carry out the action of throwing the switch.

Rachels denies that killing is intrinsically that is, in itself worse than letting die. A will die in about 7 days.

James Rachels, Active and passive euthanasia – PhilPapers

No-one would think that the doctor’s reply excused him in any way. Margaret Otlowski – – Clarendon Press. If the doctor agrees, she has two choices about what to do: Sign in Create an account.

So allowing the patient to continue to live acttive this state is a greater evil than causing their death.

Dachels the CMA has recently recommended that doctors not engage in assisted suicide or active euthanasia. But cases in which passive euthanasia seems permissible are cases in which continued existence is regarded as worse than death. The philosopher James Rachels has an argument that shows that the distinction between acts and omissions is not as helpful as it looks.


This passove is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets CSS enabled. I didn’t do anything except just stand there and watch the child drown. Natalie Abrams – – Philosophy 53 Bob Lane – – Humanist Perspectives And if the lazy doctor defended himself to Brown’s mother by saying, “I didn’t kill him.

James Rachels’ “Active and Passive Euthanasia”

But in most cases of right and wrong we do think that intention matters, and if we were asked, we would probably say that Smith was a worse person than Jones, because he intended to kill. While the child is taking a bath one evening, Smith sneaks into the bathroom and drowns him.

Suppose that the reason the doctor didn’t save Brown was that actjve was already in the middle of saving Green, and if he left Green to save Brown, Green would die.