"Active and Passive Euthanasia"
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This paper is in two parts: a summary of Rachels' article about active and passive euthanasia and an evaluation of his argument that there is no moral difference between active and passive euthanasia. The paper argues that the problem that weakens every statement he makes is found in the example he uses of passive euthanasia.
From the Paper:"Rachels discusses the distinction between active and passive euthanasia. One form of euthanasia or mercy killing is the "intentional termination of the life of one human being by another" (17). This article is directed toward the medical profession because, although it is believed that allowing a patient to die in some cases is acceptable, medicine holds that it is never acceptable to kill a patient by any direct means. Rachels' position is that this attitude needs to be reconsidered, and that there is no moral difference between active and passive euthanasia.
"The difference between active and passive euthanasia is not moral but cultural. People believe that killing someone is morally much worse than allowing someone to die. To illustrate that this view is false, the example of Smith and Jones is used. Both men will gain by the death of a young cousin. Whereas Smith drowns the child and makes it seem like an accident, Jones intends to do the same. However, Jones is very lucky since the child falls, hits his head, and is face down in the water. He would act if he needed to kill the child, but he does not need to do this. "With only a little thrashing about, the child drowns all by himself, 'accidentally', as Jones watches and does nothing" (19). Neither man acted differently from a moral point of view. The only difference between them is that one killed, while the other man let die."
Cite this Article Review:
"Active and Passive Euthanasia" (2003, October 23) Retrieved April 16, 2014, from http://www.academon.com/article-review/active-and-passive-euthanasia-41447/
""Active and Passive Euthanasia"" 23 October 2003. Web. 16 April. 2014. <http://www.academon.com/article-review/active-and-passive-euthanasia-41447/>