Active and passive euthanasia – The rehabilitation of an often criticized descriptive difference

Ethik in der Medizin 13 (3):161-175 (2001)
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Definition of the problem: In order to discuss the normative aspects of euthanasia one has to clarify what is meant by active and passive euthanasia. Arguments and conclusion: Many theoreticians deny the possibility of distinguishing between the two by purely descriptive means, e.g. on the basis of theories of action or the differences between acting and omitting. On the contrary, such a purely descriptive distinction will be defended in this paper by summarizing and refining the theory of Dieter Birnbacher, which he developed in his book Tun und Unterlassen. I will suggest a new definition of active and passive euthanasia



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