Active and Passive Euthanasia

Philosophy 53 (204):257 - 263 (1978)
Abstract
This paper is divided into three sections. The first presents some examples of the killing/letting die distinction. The second draws a further distinction between what I call negative and positive cases of acting or refraining. Here I argue that the moral significance of the acting/refraining distinction is different for positive and for negative cases. In the third section I apply the above distinction to euthanasia, and argue that mercy killing should be regarded as analogous to positive rather than negative cases. On the basis of this, I then support active rather than passive euthanasia
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