Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 41 (2):484-500 (2013)

Physician-assisted suicide laws in Oregon and Washington require the person's current competency and a prognosis of terminal illness. In The Netherlands voluntariness and unbearable suffering are required for euthanasia. Many people are more concerned about the loss of autonomy and independence in years of severe dementia than about pain and suffering in their last months. To address this concern, people could write advance directives for physician-assisted death in dementia. Should such directives be implemented even though, at the time, the person is no longer competent and would not be either terminally ill or suffering unbearably? We argue that in many cases they should be, and that a sliding scale which considers both autonomy and the capacity for enjoyment provides the best justification for determining when: when written by a previously well-informed and competent person, such a directive gains in authority as the later person's capacities to generate new critical interests and to enjoy life decrease. Such an extension of legalized death assistance is grounded in the same central value of voluntariness that undergirds the current more limited legalization
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/jlme.12057
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: 52,739
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Constitution of Selves.Christopher Williams & Marya Schechtman - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (4):641.
Voluntary Active Euthanasia.Dan W. Brock - 1992 - Hastings Center Report 22 (2):10-22.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Advance Directives for Dementia Can Survive Altered Preferences.Paul T. Menzel - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics 20 (8):80-82.

View all 17 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Five Words for Assisted Dying.Iain Brassington - 2008 - Law and Philosophy 27 (5):415 - 444.
The Case for Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide.Robin Gibson - 2013 - The Australian Humanist 109 (109):11.
Ending Life, Morality, and Meaning.Jukka Varelius - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):559-574.


Added to PP index

Total views
68 ( #138,212 of 2,340,325 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #187,847 of 2,340,325 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes