Killing and allowing to die
in From reason to practice in bioethics
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This chapter starts by praising John Harris as ‘a hugely important and of course hugely controversial contributor to the field of medical ethics and bioethics’. It goes on to argue that while there are no necessary moral distinctions to be made between killing and letting die (or allowing to die or not preventing death) there sometimes are valid moral distinctions to be made between them. Furthermore, it argues that such distinctions can be morally relevant in clinical medicine, such that in some circumstances allowing patients to die is morally acceptable where killing the same patients in the same circumstances would not be morally acceptable. Citing material in Harris’s ‘The Value of Life’ suggesting that he might disagree with these claims it invites him to clarify his position!

From reason to practice in bioethics

An anthology dedicated to the works of John Harris

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