03:07 EDT 24th May 2015 | BioPortfolio


Opponents of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) maintain that physician withdrawal-of-life-sustaining-treatment cannot be morally equated to voluntary active euthanasia. PAS opponents generally distinguish these two kinds of act by positing a possible moral distinction between killing and allowing-to-die, ceteris paribus. While that distinction continues to be widely accepted in the public discourse, it has been more controversial among philosophers. Some ethicist PAS advocates are so certain that the distinction is invalid that they describe PAS opponents who hold to the distinction as in the grip of 'moral fictions'. The author contends that such a diagnosis is too hasty. The possibility of a moral distinction between active euthanasia and allowing-to-die has not been closed off by the argumentative strategies employed by these PAS advocates, including the contrasting cases strategy and the assimilation of doing and allowing to a common sense notion of causation. The philosophical debate over the doing/allowing distinction remains inconclusive, but physicians and others who rely upon that distinction in thinking about the ethics of end-of-life care need not give up on it in response to these arguments.


University of Alabama-at-Birmingham School of Medicine and the Birimingham VA Medical Center.

Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Bioethics
ISSN: 1467-8519


PubMed Articles [3082 Associated PubMed Articles listed on BioPortfolio]

Dogs and Monsters: Moral Status Claims in the Fiction of Dean Koontz.

This article explores conceptions of moral status in the work of American thriller author Dean Koontz. It begins by examining some of the general theories of moral status used by philosophers to deter...

Moral Hypocrisy on the Basis of Construal Level: To Be a Utilitarian Personal Decision Maker or to Be a Moral Advisor?

People encounter various moral issues that involve making decisions for others by giving advice.

Agreement on the Perception of Moral Character.

This study tested for inter-judge agreement on moral character. A sample of students and community members rated their own moral character using a measure that tapped six moral character traits. Frien...

A Person-Centered Approach to Moral Judgment.

Both normative theories of ethics in philosophy and contemporary models of moral judgment in psychology have focused almost exclusively on the permissibility of acts, in particular whether acts should...

Moral License in Video Games: When Being Right Can Mean Doing Wrong.

Research on video game violence has found largely consistent evidence that violence in video games tends to be associated with an increase in antisocial behavior. However, this body of work has mostly...

Clinical Trials [404 Associated Clinical Trials listed on BioPortfolio]

Genetic Counselors' Experiences of Moral Value Conflicts With Clients

This study will examine the experience of moral value conflicts among genetic counselors. Previous research has shown that value conflicts do exist among genetic counselors, but little is ...

Placebo Interventions in General Practice

Physicians often have an ambivalent relationship to placebo interventions. On the one hand they know of the intriguing effect of sugar pills or saline infusions but on the other hand they ...

Determining Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patient After Completing Radiation,Chemotherapy,Surgery or Combination

Rationale: Determining quality of life in breast cancer patient after completing chemotherapy or radiation therapy or surgical procedures or any combination therapy. Intervention includes...

The Effect of Fact Versus Myth Messages on Receipt of Influenza Vaccination

The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether message design of educational materials increases vaccination rates among participants.

Long-Term Study of Living Kidney Donors

Kidney transplantation, is the preferred treatment option of end stage renal disease. Compared to dialysis, patients who receive kidneys have a 70% reduction in death, a dramatically impr...

Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

The cognitive and affective processes which constitute an internalized moral governor over an individual's moral conduct.

The state or condition of being a human individual accorded moral and/or legal rights. Criteria to be used to determine this status are subject to debate, and range from the requirement of simply being a human organism to such requirements as that the individual be self-aware and capable of rational thought and moral agency.

Duties that are based in ETHICS, rather than in law.

The moral and ethical obligations or responsibilities of institutions.

The intrinsic moral worth ascribed to a living being. (Bioethics Thesaurus)

Search BioPortfolio:

Relevant Topic

Public Health
Latest News Clinical Trials Research Drugs Reports Corporate
Public health is the scientific, political and sociological approach by a society to maximise the health of the population through disease preventaion and mainenance of healthy life-styles. The mains areas of public health are epidemiology, biostatistics...


Searches Linking to this Article