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11 Cards in this Set

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Define active euthanasia.

Actively killing someone eg by lethal injection

Define passive euthanasia.

Passing up an opportunity to prevent someone's death eg do not resuscitate signs.

Define voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia.

Voluntary euthanasia is when the patient gives consent either verbally or through a living will.


Non-voluntary is when a patient is unable to make their intentions known and the decision is taken by medics or their family.


Involuntary is when patient is in a position to make their intentions known but either is not consulted or has expressed a desire to carry on living. This violates the person's autonomous choice to carry on living.

Name some reasons in support of voluntary and non-voluntary euthanasia.

1. It will benefit the person as it relieves pain


2. Prevents suffering of relatives


3. Gives person more autonomy as they can choose death.


4. It may free up scarce resources

Utilitarians may suggest killing a self-aware being is wrong because they are capable of fearing their own death. How is this wrong with regards to voluntary euthanasia?

It doesn't apply to cases where someone genuinely consents to being killed b/c they will not feel fear in these cases. The argument from fear actually leads us to support euthanasia since we may feel excessive fear that our deaths will be unnecessarily drawn out and painful. The availability of euthanasia can actually bring comfort.

They may also suggest killing someone is wrong because it violates the person's desire to carry on living. The response?

This too actually points in favour of voluntary euthanasia. Killing is wrong b/c it violates the person's desire to carry on living. Therefore, killing is permissible if it satisfies a person's desire to die.

According to rights theory you must be able to want to continue living in order to have a right to life. How can this support voluntary euthanasia?

An essential feature of any right is our ability to waive it when we desire. Therefore, it is not a violation of my right to continues living if I have voluntarily waived this right.

Respect for the autonomous decisions of rational agents should lead us to see killing as wrong. How can it support voluntary euthanasia?

Respecting autonomous decisions of rational agents means we support them in decisions they took free from coercion or interference. Therefore if someone takes the decision to die under such circumstances then our respect for their autonomy will lead us to assist them in this.

What is Velleman's objection to voluntary euthanasia?

He suggests legalising voluntary euthanasia would increase autonomy in a bad way as it would increase pressure on people to choose death.

What analogy does Velleman use to show giving people choices can sometimes be a bad thing?

He says if you worked in a shop that was being robbed and you didn't know where the safe was, the criminals could not use that knowledge against you or threaten you to make you tell them. However, if you have the additional knowledge of its whereabouts you are in a much worse position when the shop is being robbed because the knowledge can be used against you.

How does Singer defend voluntary euthanasia in the face of this?

He says the many years of legal euthanasia in the Netherlands show that with strict guidelines, patients can rarely be sufficiently pressured into accepting euthanasia. For example euthanasia can only be carried out when the patient has explicitly requested to die in a manner that leaves no doubt it was voluntary, well-informed and well-considered. There must also be no other reasonable alternative from the patient's point of view to alleviate the suffering they experience.