Voluntariness, suffering and euthanasia

Philosophical Explorations 6 (1):50 – 64 (2003)
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Dutch euthanasia legislation states that an act of euthanasia is only permissible if it is based on a voluntary request made in a situation of unbearable suffering to which there are no alternatives.The central question of this article is whether these criteria can be satisfied simultaneously. In an analysis of several (partly overlapping) definitions of voluntariness it is argued that there are circumstances in which this question should be answered negatively.The possible incompatibility of the criteria reveals a tension between different defences of the permissibility of euthanasia.



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Martin Van Hees
VU University Amsterdam

Citations of this work

A Political Account of Corporate Moral Responsibility.Jeffery Smith - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (2):223 - 246.
Voluntary Consent: Why a Value-Neutral Concept Won't Work.A. Wertheimer - 2012 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 37 (3):226-254.

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References found in this work

Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829.
Negative and positive freedom.Gerald C. MacCallum - 1967 - Philosophical Review 76 (3):312-334.

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