Bioethics 35 (2):214-220 (2021)

Authors
Sean Aas
Georgetown University
Abstract
Disconnecting a patient from artificial life support, on their request, is often if not always a matter of letting them die, not killing them—and sometimes, permissibly doing so. Stopping a patient’s heart on request, by contrast, is a kind of killing, and rarely if ever a permissible one. The difference seems to be that procedures of the first kind remove an unwanted external support for bodily functioning, rather than intervening in the body itself. What should we say, however, about cases at the boundary—procedures involving items that seem bodily in some respects, but not others? When, for instance, does deactivating an implanted device like a pacemaker count as killing, and when as letting die? Contra existing proposals, I argue that the boundaries of the body for this purpose are not drawn at the boundaries of the self, or (if this is different) the human organism. Nor should we determine when we are killing and when we are letting die by deferring to existing practices for distinguishing ongoing from completed treatment. Rather, I argue that whether something (organic or inorganic) counts as body part for purposes of this distinction depends on the results of a normative analysis of the particular character of our rights in it—particularly, whether and in what way these rights ought to be alienable. I conclude by arguing that there are likely good reasons to recognize distinctively “bodily” rights and restrictions in at least some implantable devices.
Keywords disability  harm  implantable cardiac device  killing  letting die  prostheses
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/bioe.12810
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,393
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Ethics of Explantation.Sven Ove Hansson - 2021 - BMC Medical Ethics 22 (1):1-9.
Animal Rights Pacifism.Blake Hereth - 2021 - Philosophical Studies (12):1-30.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Rejection of Consequentializing.Daniel Muñoz - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (2):79-96.
Killing and Relevantly Similarly Letting Die.Peter Davson-Galle - 1998 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 15 (2):199-201.
Killing and Relevantly Similarly Letting Die.Peter Davson-Galle - 1998 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 15 (2):199–201.
A Reappraisal of the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing.David K. Chan - 2010 - In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry S. Silverstein (eds.), Action, Ethics, and Responsibility. MIT Press. pp. 25-45.
Killing, a Conceptual Analysis.Cheng-Chih Tsai - 2017 - Ethical Perspectives 24 (3):467-499.
Why Are Killing and Letting Die Wrong?Matthew Hanser - 1995 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 24 (3):175-201.
Murdering an Accident Victim: A New Objection to the Bare-Difference Argument.Scott Hill - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (4):767-778.
On the Moral Relevance of the Distinction Between Killing and Letting Die.Young-mo Koo - 1997 - Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara
Ambiguities in 'Killing' and 'Letting Die'.Gary M. Atkinson - 1983 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 8 (2):159-168.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2020-09-19

Total views
22 ( #493,230 of 2,449,014 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #141,481 of 2,449,014 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes