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Letting Die

  • Barbara MaierEmail author
  • Warren A. Shibles†
Chapter
Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 47)

Abstract

Allowing death = killing = murder. The reasons typically given for killing are fallacious. If one reason is given to promote it, the door is open for any reason whatsoever. Killing is a self-defeating position because if we justify killing others, others can justify killing us. It is similarly self-defeating to block medical research and then expect to benefit from such research or to thereby allow others to die. One cannot decide the issue of justifying killing x number to save y number on the basis of numbers alone. The utilitarian theory is not a genuine ethical theory, but a mechanical formula which cannot be applied unless a more adequate ethical theory is employed to do so. A holistic naturalistic humanistic ethics was suggested for this. The problem is more how to save lives without killing.

Keywords

Killing (in)direct killing letting die allowing death withholding treatment utilitarian formula Samaritan help reverence for life (assisted) suicide euthanasia 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Gynecology and ObstetricsParacelsus Medical University SALKSalzburgAustria
  2. 2.University of Wisconsin–WhitewaterWhitewaterUSA

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