Chronic vegetative states: Intrinsic value of biological process

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 9 (4):395-408 (1984)
has been put forth by Rolston, which leads to respect for the irreversibly comatose by virtue of the residual biological (objective) life. By comparing objective and subjective life, he develops a naturalistic principle which he contrasts with the humanistic norm of contemporary medical ethics. He claims there are clinical applications which would necessarily follow. A critique of this viewpoint is presented here, which begins with an analysis of what might be of value in spontaneous objective life. A measure of the moral worth of simple objective life is attempted by means of comparison with our attitudes toward animals. Finally, some of the clinical applications suggested by Rolston are reviewed. Except for euthanasia, there appear to be few clinical situations where the naturalistic principle helps in problem solving. Keywords: naturalistic principle, value of life, irreversibly comatose CiteULike Connotea What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/9.4.395
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