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More on the Relevance of Personhood and Mindedness: The Euthanasia Debate

David Kyle Johnson

Vol. 5, No. 1

Summer 2023

Pages: 30‒42

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2023.vol5.no1.02


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Social Issues: Euthanasia

Euthanasia, Active Euthanasia, Daniel Callahan, Don Marquis, Intrinsic Value of Life

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In my first paper for SHERM, I argued that “fetus personhood” is irrelevant to the abortion debate. In this paper, I will argue that personhood is irrelevant to the euthanasia debate as well. Even though a terminally ill patient is a person, ending their life can still be moral. Because personhood (and mindedness) is only instrumentally valuable as means to attaining the good life, if a terminal illness has now made that impossible, it is permissible (when both the doctor and patient agree) for the doctor to help the patient end their life. Thus, euthanasia should be legal.


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