Active And Passive Euthanasia By James Rachels And Bonnie Steinbock

1667 Words 7 Pages
In the United States of America, the legality of physician-assisted suicide or “Active Euthanasia” has been the topic of a highly debated political controversy. Whether there is a morally relevant difference between “Active Euthanasia” and “Passive Euthanasia”, or more simply between doing and allowing harm is at the center of this dispute. Two American philosophers, James Rachels and Bonnie Steinbock share their outlooks on the topic in their essays Active and Passive Euthanasia (1975) and The Intentional Termination of Life (1979). Steinbock argues that Rachels has misinterpreted the standard view on the subject, or the view in which the American Medical Association has published, and refutes Rachel 's conclusion. However, Rachel 's provides enough arguments, backed by specific examples to show that there is no moral difference between intending a death and simply foreseeing a death.

James Rachels was an accomplished American philosopher who taught at several top tier American universities as well as writing 7 books, 85 essays, and speaking at hundreds of lectures on ethical issues such as animal rights, and affirmative action. In 1975, published in New England Journal of Medicine, Rachels wrote an essay discussing the ethics and moral permissibility behind euthanasia titled “Active and Passive Euthanasia”. In this essay, Rachel 's begins by giving his own definition of passive euthanasia saying that it is taking the action of ending or withholding the necessary…

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