The moral distinction between killing and letting die in medical cases

Bioethics 22 (5):278–285 (2008)
In some medical cases there is a moral distinction between killing and letting die, but in others there is not. In this paper I present an original and principled account of the moral distinction between killing and letting die. The account provides both an explanation of the moral distinction and an explanation for why the distinction does not always hold. If these explanations are correct, the moral distinction between killing and letting die must be taken seriously in medical contexts. Defeasibly, when an agent kills she takes responsibility, but when an agent lets die she does not take responsibility. Therein lies the moral distinction between killing and letting die. The distinction, however, is defeated when an agent is already responsible for the surrounding situation. In such cases, killing does not involve taking any further responsibility and letting die does not avoid taking any responsibility. Medical examples are frequently complicated because patients' autonomous choices impact upon medical practitioners' surrounding responsibility
Keywords end of life  responsibility  Killing  letting die
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2008.00616.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,798
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Killing and Letting Die: The Similarity Criterion.Joachim Asscher - 2007 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (3):271–282.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

129 ( #37,717 of 2,177,988 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #45,332 of 2,177,988 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums