Synopsis: Rachels is concerned to show that the AMA’s doctrine on euthanasia– that passive euthanasia is morally permissible while active euthanasia is. The moral distinction between active and passive euthanasia, or between “killing ” and The philosopher James Rachels has an argument that shows that the. May 19, The late philosopher James Rachels published one of the most salient pieces on the euthanasia (E) debate in the New England Journal.

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Rachels says that he can understand someone who opposes both active and passive euthanasia as immoral practices, but cannot make sense of approving of one and not the other. The person, suffering from terrible pain that can no longer be alleviated, asks the doctor to end his life. Table of Contents for the Online Textbook. While the child is taking a bath one evening, Jones sneaks into the bathroom with the aim of drowning the child. Suppose that the reason the doctor didn’t save Brown was that he was already in the middle of saving Green, and if he left Green to save Rschels, Green would die.

The humane thing to do is to let the patient die. And the CMA has recently recommended that passiev not engage in assisted suicide or active euthanasia. It says that there is a moral difference between carrying out an action, and merely omitting to carry out an action. James Rachels has offered some other arguments that work differently. If killing is morally worse than letting die, then for any two cases C1 and C2, where C1 and C2 are exactly alike in all respects except that in C1 there is a killing while in C2 there is a letting die, C1 is morally worse than C2.

But the conventional doctrine often adds a requirement of suffering before dying. If CDE is true then killing is morally worse than letting die. It follows that, indeed, the AMA’s policy on euthanasia is seriously misguided, which is just a nice passice of saying that it is blatantly false.

Accordingly, Rachels considers the following argument. If passive euthanasia would be right in this case then the continued existence of the patient in a state of great pain must be a greater evil than their death.


BBC – Ethics – Euthanasia: Active and passive euthanasia

A is in great pasaive, despite high doses of painkilling drugs. Statement of the AMA: The Dutch parliament very recently approved a bill that would allow doctors to directly administer a lethal dose of medication.

In Canada, however, assisting suicide and intentional killing, even when done to reduce suffering, are criminal acts. Because the patient is terminally ill, is suffering terribly, and wants to avoid further suffering. However, active euthanasia physician-assisted death is never morally permissible.

Doctors can withhold treatment aand many circumstances, and does nothing wrong if the patient dies, but the doctor must never, ever “kill” the patient.

In either case, the matter is being decided on irrelevant grounds. Rachels denies that killing is intrinsically that is, in itself worse than letting die. But this still won’t satisfy some people.

Our goal is to prevent further unnecessary suffering. Argument C 1 If killing is morally worse than letting die, then for any two cases C1 and C2, where C1 and C2 are exactly alike in all respects except that in C1 there is a killing while in C2 there is a letting die, C1 is morally worse than C2.

Rachels: “Active and Passive Euthanasia”

In this case letting someone die is morally very bad indeed. Causing their death swiftly is a lesser evil than allowing them to live in pain. This is one of the classic ideas in ethics.

Do as you would be done by The rule that we should treat other people as we would like them to treat us qctive seems to support euthanasia, if we would want to be put out of our misery if we were in A’s position.

Euthanasi Rachels, ‘Active and Passive Euthanasia’. Now, the conventional doctrine says that letting die is sometimes permissible, whereas killing is always forbidden. If active euthanasia is worse than passive euthanasia, then CDE is true.

Active and passive euthanasia.

Only rules that apply to everyone can be accepted One well-known ethical principle says that we should only be guided by moral principles that we would accept should be followed by everyone. There are voluntary, nonvoluntary, and involuntary versions of each of passive and active euthanasia.


Thou shalt not kill but needst not strive, officiously, to keep alive. Acting in accordance with CDE leads to decisions about passive euthanasia being made on irrelevant grounds. The doctrine that it makes an ethical difference whether an agent actively intervenes to bring about a result, or omits to act in circumstances in which it is foreseen that as a result of the omission the same result occurs. That is, voluntary passive euthanasia is permissible.

Active and passive euthanasia

pawsive Either way, the patient is dead. Find out more about page archiving. Therefore 3 CDE is not true. And this is best achieved not by letting the patient die, but by directly killing him. The parents and doctors would not take action to directly kill the child. Rachel’s first two arguments are sound if one is a Utilitarian.

There are many examples of people who have accepted appalling pain for their beliefs. Passive euthanasia occurs when the patient dies because the medical professionals either don’t do something necessary to keep the patient alive, or when they acgive doing something that is keeping the patient alive. So allowing the patient to continue to live in this state is a greater evil than causing their death. Instead, his conclusion is perhaps best expressed as a conditional: I didn’t do anything except just stand there and watch the child drown.

The Case of Jones. But in such a case, Rachels argues, the more humane thing to do is to painlessly kill the patient, to perform active euthanasia. Therefore 5 CDE is not true. Rachles even if one were not a Utilitarian, it seems that Rachels’ third argument is inescapably sound. Doctors faced with the problem of an incurable patient who wants to die have often felt it was morally better to withdraw treatment from a patient and let the patient die than paxsive kill the patient perhaps with a lethal injection.

Second actiive is the Bathtub Example of Smith and Jones.

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