Assisted Death: A Study in Ethics and Law

Paperback | October 23, 2013

byL. W. Sumner

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Ethical and legal issues concerning physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are very much on the public agenda in many jurisdictions. In this timely book L.W. Sumner addresses these issues within the wider context of palliative care for patients in the dying process. His ethical conclusionis that a bright line between assisted death and other widely accepted end-of-life practices, including the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, pain control through high-dose opioids, and terminal sedation, cannot be justified. In the course of the ethical argument many familiar themes are given careful and thorough treatment: conceptions of death, the badness of death, the wrongness of killing, informed consent and refusal, the ethics of suicide, cause of death, the double effect, the sanctity of life, the"active/passive" distinction, advance directives, and nonvoluntary euthanasia. The legal discussion opens with a survey of some prominent prohibitionist and regulatory regimes and then outlines a model regulatory policy for assisted death. Sumner concludes by defending this policy against a widerange of common objections, including those which appeal to slippery slopes or the possibility of abuse, and by asking how the transition to a regulatory regime might be managed in three common law prohibitionist jurisdictions.

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Ethical and legal issues concerning physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are very much on the public agenda in many jurisdictions. In this timely book L.W. Sumner addresses these issues within the wider context of palliative care for patients in the dying process. His ethical conclusionis that a bright line between assisted death ...

L.W. Sumner is University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He is the author of four books: Abortion and Moral Theory (1981); The Moral Foundation of Rights (1987); Welfare, Ethics, and Happiness (1996); and The Hateful and the Obscene: Studies in the Limits of Free Expression (2004). He i...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:250 pagesPublished:October 23, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199687471

ISBN - 13:9780199687473

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Table of Contents

Preface1. PrologueI: Ethics2. Consent and Refusal3. Indirect Death4. Death by Request5. Deciding for OthersII: Law6. The Legal Landscape7. From Prohibition to Regulation8. EpilogueCases CitedWorks CitedIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Lucid and powerful ... a superb example of the relevance of philosophy to public policy." --Thomas Nagel, London Review of Books