Chapter 15 Essay Questions

Chapter 15 Essay Questions


1.   What is the difference between active and passive euthanasia? Do you think this difference is morally important? Why or why not? In light of your answer to this question, present and defend a position regarding the moral permissibility of active euthanasia.


2.   In your own words, explain the Compassion Argument. Why might someone find this argument compelling? Do you think this argument is sound or unsound? In defending your evaluative stance, present what you think the strongest objection to this argument is and whether the objection succeeds.


3.   According to the Equivalence Argument, there is no morally relevant difference between killing and letting die. Do you agree with this claim? Use specific examples to motivate your position. In light of your answer, do you think active euthanasia is morally permissible? Why or why not?


4.   Why does Rachels think that euthanasia is sometimes morally permissible? What do you think is the strongest objection to his view? Can he overcome this objection? Defend your answer.


5.   Kass’s argument against active euthanasia takes the form of a slippery slope argument. Explain what Kass thinks is likely to happen if euthanasia is legalized. Do you find this argument effective? Do you find slippery slope arguments effective in general? Why or why not?


6.   What are the four reasons that Singer identifies that might justify withholding active euthanasia from humans while allowing it for non-human animals? Explain his response to each of these proposed reasons. Do you ultimately agree with Singer’s conclusion that we should allow active euthanasia for both humans and non-human animals?


7.   According to one objection to legalizing euthanasia, doing so would be a justified form of paternalism. What does that mean? How does Singer respond to this claim? Can you identify a rule for determining when paternalism in the legal code is justified and when it is not?

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