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.

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If passive euthanasia would be right in this case then the continued existence of the patient in a state of great pain must be a greater evil than their death. The dagger in his heart killed him,” we wouldn’t think this an adequate moral argument either. And the CMA has recently recommended that doctors not engage in assisted suicide or active euthanasia. Passive euthanasia occurs 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.

Passive euthanasia Passive euthanasia occurs 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. I didn’t kill him; I only let him euthanazia. Simon Blackburn, Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. Actve Case of Jones.

Now, the conventional doctrine says that letting die is sometimes permissible, whereas killing is always forbidden. These are class notes, intended to comment on readings and amplify class discussion.


While the child is taking a bath one evening, Smith sneaks into the bathroom and drowns him. We must allow it to live. If CDE is true then killing is morally worse than letting die. If active euthanasia is worse than passive euthanasia, then CDE is true. They should be read as such. Instead, his conclusion is eutanasia best expressed as a conditional: As Rachels notes, the AMA takes a similar stand.

The racheos doctrine would say that it is permissible for the doctor to refrain from further treatment and to allow the patient the die. Rachels does not want to deny that actual killings are often much worse than actual cases of letting die. Arthur Hugh Clough That is, voluntary passive euthanasia is permissible. Therefore 3 CDE is false.

The basis of the conventional doctrine is the distinction between “killing” and “letting die,” together with the assumption that the difference between killing and letting die must, by itself and apart from further consequences, constitute a genuine moral difference. It is not the case that killing is morally worse than letting die. Active euthanasia reduces the total amount of pain A suffers, and so active euthanasia should ad preferred in this case.

Therefore, in many cases where it is right to passife a patient die, it is also right to practice active euthanasia. A is in great pain, despite high doses of painkilling drugs.

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.

Active and passive euthanasia

Accordingly, Rachels considers the following argument. If the doctor agrees, she has two choices about what to do: The doctrine that it makes an ethical passibe whether an agent actively intervenes to bring about a result, or omits to act in circumstances in which it is foreseen that as a result of the omission the same result occurs.


It is not the case that passive euthanasia never produces more suffering than active euthanasia. But even if one were not a Utilitarian, it seems that Rachels’ third argument is inescapably sound. In this case letting someone die is morally very bad indeed.

Why is passive euthanasia thought to be permissible in this kind of case?

James Rachels on Euthanasia Notes – Applied Ethics

Active euthanasia is a lesser evil than passive euthanasia. The Dutch parliament very recently approved a bill that would allow doctors to euthhanasia administer a lethal dose of medication. Find out more about page archiving. The Crucial Element is Intention http: Preferring active to passive euthanasia This section is written from the presumption that there are occasions when euthanasia is morally OK.

While you will be able to view the content pasive this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. If the patient is going to die either way, why is it morally permissible to dehydrate them to death? Of course you can’t.