Welcome to PHIL-313:
Killing & Letting Die

Mark Greene.
Required Readings:
See timetable.
Tue & Thu, 11am - 12:15pm. In Purnell 328.

Doctors are generally forbidden actively to cause the death of terminally ill patients who are in great pain and want to die. However, they are allowed to withhold treatment from such patients, knowing this will hasten death. Both practices share the morally salient feature that they result in avoidable earlier death. Why is killing condemned but letting die allowed? We will explore this and the acts / omissions asymmetry more generally. It seems that there are cases in which moral attitudes diverge despite equivalence of ethically relevant features. Are such asymmetries real or only apparent? What do they mean for the ethical systems in which they arise?

Oh! And... The Button. And also... Trolley Madness. And some pre-K trolleyology.


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