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Applied ethics and social problemsMoral questions of birth, society and death$
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Tony Fitzpatrick

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781861348609

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861348609.001.0001

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(p.180) (p.181) Ten Dying
Applied ethics and social problems

Tony Fitzpatrick

Policy Press

Is euthanasia justified and, if so, when? Answering this question is the main concern of this chapter. Euthanasia implies deliberately assisting someone to die in order to benefit that person. It has two forms: active and passive. The author enumerates and adopts four positions in examining how distinct passive and active euthanasia are and what implications follow. Consequently, euthanasia has three distinctions — voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. The author discusses several debates on each distinction and if it can be justified. This chapter ends with the proposal that if prolonging life means prolonging suffering too, it may sometimes be more ethical to shorten both, even if this means killing rather than simply letting die.

Keywords:   euthanasia, active euthanasia, life, suffering, killing, passive euthanasia

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