Download Assisted Suicide: The Liberal, Humanist Case Against by Kevin Yuill (auth.) PDF

By Kevin Yuill (auth.)

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Extra info for Assisted Suicide: The Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalization

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These advocates call for increased social acceptance of assisted suicide as well as assisted suicide as a human right. The motivations of these organizations are not as straightforward as the discussion might initially imply. Here, if not in the way it is usually presented, is evidence for the ‘slippery slope’ that we will discuss in the next chapter. Who does it? The extraordinary fact – one pointing to the chimerical nature of the whole discussion – is that though a majority would like the right to die, no one will use it.

Where, exactly, is the basis of our valuation of human life? Though Gorsuch avoids direct discussion of religious matters, the shadow of God can be seen throughout this thoughtful book. Gorsuch agrees with Ronald Dworkin, a powerful proponent of legalization, that there is an inherent value to human life. This may well be the case but to simply assert it raises the question of the origin of such a value. Does it exist outside of time and space rather like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey? The subtext of Gorsuch’s efforts is that God injected mere biological matter with importance beyond the materials that constitute human beings.

We are all ‘terminal’, and the worth of our lives should not be crudely measured by the time we have left. Nor is dying a medical act; long before any medical intervention occurred, people were dying without any intervention at all. As Daniel Callahan has noted, there is now a tendency to view death as something that is done to us rather than something that occurs, ‘as if death were now our fault, the result of human choices, not the independent workings of nature’. As the old joke has it, life itself is a sexually transmitted disease Defining the Terms 19 that is always fatal.

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