Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 74)


One of the most acute issues in current medical ethics is the problem of euthanasia. This term originally comes from the Greek word that originally meant “a good death” (eu—well, Thanatos—death). Needless to say that in every discussion about life and death we hold the a priori assumption that “life is good and that existing life should be preserved as a matter of course, unless some overriding principle supersedes the innate value of an ongoing life.”1 This assumption is one of the reasons for the immense difficulties of the discussion about “good death.” The issue of euthanasia became extremely complicated during the 20th century due to rapid technological progress that enabled maintaining the lives of terminal patients, even unconscious terminal patients, for extended periods of time. However, while we may possess powerful life-prolonging medical technology, on the ethical level “we are unable to find meaning in death or to bring our lives to a meaningful close.”2 Thus, death as a whole, and euthanasia in particular, have become complex and painful issues in modern society.


Good Death Common Limb Active Euthanasia Slippery Slope Argument Voluntary Euthanasia 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

    • 1
  1. 1.Tel Aviv UniversityIsrael

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