Contemporary Moral Problems

1. Is Beauchamp more concerned with the morality of individual cases of euthanasia, or are his arguments intended to support a policy on legalization?


2. What is the difference between killing and letting die, according to Beauchamp? What is the “redefinition” he wants to resist? Do you agree with him?


3. Explain the point of Beauchamp’s example of Mr. Policeman & Mr. Mafia. Do you agree with him?


4. What is Beauchamp asserting about the difference between a “valid refusal” and a “valid authorization?”


5. On which points does Beauchamp agree with Bernat, Gert, & Mogielnicki? On which does he disagree? With whom do you agree? Does Beauchamp think that a physician is responsible for the outcome only when they honor a patient’s request, or also when they refuse them? What is his reasoning for this?


6. What does Beauchamp identify as the “wrong” in cases when killing a person is wrong?


7. Under what circumstances does Beauchamp think one can make the strongest case for euthanasia? What example does he use to illustrate this?


8. Why does Beauchamp suggest there is both something right and wrong about “slippery slope” arguments? What example does he offer as at least partially addressing these concerns?


contemporary Moral Problems


1. What is utilitarianism?


2. Do you agree more with classical or contemporary utilitarians on what they consider to be intrinsically good?


3. Does Hooker consider religious beliefs about right and wrong to be relevant from a utilitarian perspective?


4. What is the difference between act- and rule- utilitarianism?


5. In your own words, explain the concepts of active, passive, voluntary, non-voluntary, and involuntary euthanasia as described by Hooker. Do you find any of these definitions unclear?


6. Is Hooker’s utilitarian analysis of euthanasia focused more on policy questions, or more on individual cases? What difference might it make if he were looking at the issue from the other angle?


7. What does Hooker consider to be the potential benefits of legalizing euthanasia?


8. Why do you think Hooker considers the potential harms of involuntary euthanasia separately from the other forms?


9. What does Hooker list as possible harms that could result from legalizing voluntary or non-voluntary euthanasia? Among them, which do you consider most important? Are there others which he has not considered that you think he should?


10. What are Hooker’s suggested measures for minimizing the possible harms of legalizing active, voluntary euthanasia? Do you think they sound like they would be sufficient protections against the possible harms?


11. How do you feel about what Hooker says regarding inevitable abuse?


12. What concern does he raise about the “slippery slope,” and what does he suggest shows it can be addressed? (remember and cross reference this when you read Cohn & Lynn)

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