It is harder morally to justify letting somebody die a slow and ugly death, dehumanized, than it is to justify helping him to escape from such misery. This is the case at least in any code of ethics which is humanistic or personalistic, i.e., in any code of ethics which has a value system that puts humanness and personal integrity above biological life and function. It makes no difference whether such an ethics system is grounded in a theistic or a naturalistic philosophy. We may believe that God wills human happiness or that man’s happiness is, as Protagoras thought, a self-validating standard of the good and the right. But what counts ethically is whether human needs come first—not whether the ultimate sanction is transcendental or secular.


Personal Integrity Imperforate Anus High Good Biological Life Human Happiness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Fletcher

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