Choosing to Die: Elective Death and Multiculturalism

Choosing to Die: Elective Death and Multiculturalism

C. G. Prado

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0521697581

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In this book, C. G. Prado addresses the difficult question of when and whether it is rational to end one's life in order to escape devastating terminal illness. He specifically considers this question in light of the impact of multiculturalism on perceptions and judgments about what is right and wrong, permissible and impermissible. Prado introduces the idea of a "coincidental culture" to clarify the variety of values and commitments that influence decision. He also introduces the idea of a "proxy premise" to deal with reasoning issues that are raised by intractably held beliefs. Primarily intended for medical ethicists, this book will be of interest to anyone concerned about the ability of modern medicine to keep people alive, thereby forcing people to choose between living and dying. In addition, Prado calls upon medical ethicists and practitioners to appreciate the value of a theoretical basis for their work.

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rationality. Ã Ã Ã 80 Choosing to Die The burden of much of the foregoing in this chapter is that in a multicultural society, we cannot allow matters of life and death to be decided purely intraculturally. To do so is to relativize truth, reasoning soundness, and acceptability of fatal motivation. It also is to negate the very idea of a multicultural society by construing it as merely a collection of coexistent, disparate cultural groups. This will be surprising to many because the common

advice, she very likely will end up dependent on assistance to commit AS3 rather than being able to commit SS2, and then find that illegality bars her receiving the necessary assistance. These comments do little more than sketch some problems regarding the timing of elective death, but the point is not to attempt detailed consideration of timing questions; it is only to indicate the kinds of difficulties that arise. Our focus in this chapter is on issues to do with application of the rationality

also clearly the case that the majority of people never reflect seriously on these inculcated values as adults. The most common sort of case where reflection – and often rejection – does occur is with respect to religious affiliations. Often such reflection is spurred by clashes in close Application Issues 87 relationships or, as we have seen of late, scandal in one or another organized religion. Less often there is reflection on – and again often rejection of – other values, beliefs, and

deliberators’ reasoning and motivation, who also believe in a personal afterlife, might understand proscription of suicide as categorical and allowing no exceptions. These assessors are not likely to see the deliberators’ reasoning as sound because they will take those deliberators as not appreciating the dire consequences of their contemplated acts of self-killing. Of course, there will be some individuals who believe in a personal afterlife and believe that proscription of suicide is

implicitly drawn previously between moral and ethical questions surrounding the permissibility of elective death. This is a distinction that is evident in practice but seldom articulated. To many, the terms ‘‘moral’’ and ‘‘ethical’’ are interchangeable, and at one time they were. But for three decades or more, ‘‘moral’’ has mainly been used to describe overriding standards governing right conduct in all activities, while ‘‘ethical’’ has mainly come to be used to describe principles and rules that

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