The purpose of this paper is to explain and evaluate Brock’s central argument for the permissibility of physician-assisted

suicide (PAS) and voluntary active euthanasia (VAE). Brock’s position is that he believes assisted suicide and euthanasia are morally permissible through two fundamental ethical values— individual self-determination (autonomy) and well-being. Brock’s primary focus is on the morality issue instead of legal policy, and he chooses to support this central ethical argument by comparison to a similar analogy, that of consensus on patients’ rights to decide about life sustaining treatment. Brock introduces the central argument using several assumptions that help frame support for comparison to his analogy. First, he begins by questioning the differences between assisted suicide and euthanasia. He recognizes that, although the public’s primary moral concern is of assisted suicide and not euthanasia, he believes they are not significantly different in the moral sense. In both cases, the deciding factor to die has already been made, leaving only the difference of determining who actually administers the lethal dose, or the last action. Furthermore, Brock responds to the argument in which the doctor kills the patient in euthanasia whereas the patient kills himself in assisted suicide, by saying in which both doctor and patient are responsible in both acts. Brock supports his argument through analogy by determining whether differences exist between assisted suicide (and euthanasia) and foregoing life support treatment (LST). Brock wants to know if they are both morally and legally permissible, and uses three supporting premises to determine whether or not differences exist between them.

For his second premise.To present his case. Brock lays out his three supporting premises by comparison to his analogy of PAS to removing LST. then assisted suicide and euthanasia are also permissible. Brock asserts that if the denial of life support treatment is morally permissible. Brock asserts that assisted suicide and euthanasia are not morally dissimilar to the foregoing of life support treatment. Brock responds using a similar analogy that is both different and irrelevant. Opponents hold the common view that assisted suicide is killing while forgoing LST is allowing to die (ATD). morally permissible. an argument similar to Devine and killing fetuses. Brock responds that the difference between killing . while stopping of life support treatment is a mere response of respecting one’s wish to be allowed to die. First. Brock uses two positions to offer that assisted suicide (and euthanasia) is not morally dissimilar to foregoing life support treatment. (194) Opponents believe assisted suicide and euthanasia are deliberate acts of killing innocent people. Brock’s second position is that there is no moral difference between them. Opponents of assisted suicide object to Brock’s first argument. Opponents of Brock’s second position believe the differences are also morally relevant. Brock argues that assisted suicide and euthanasia are. he suggests that there is no difference because he believes they both perform the same action of killing. In the first premise. In his first premise. indeed. In his third and last premise. believing there is a difference between assisted suicide (and euthanasia) and foregoing of life support treatment.

object based on the understanding of what physicians do. because there is no real difference between an act and an omission. (196) He asserts there is no difference between the deliberate action of assisted suicide and allowing one to die by foregoing of life support treatment.and ATD is the difference between acts and omissions. and must be considered allowing to die. (197) Base on this premise. that removing LST is killing. Brock offers the argument that. since they are both considered killing. since physicians do remove LST. the physician or the greedy son. physicians justifiably remove LST. He substantiates this conclusion with the pair of cases of the patient in ICU. He further argues that removing LST is an act. which is an act and therefore killing. the moral permissibility of PAS/VAE must be based on other factors besides killing versus allowing to die. Opponents to this idea. justified killing. yet. therefore. is irrelevant. removing LST cannot be considered killing. Brock believes the common view that stopping LST is not killing is a mistaken one. Brock states that those who accept the argument that the difference between killing and allowing to die is a matter of act versus omission will have to conclude that there is no moral difference between killing and allowing to die. then some killings are ethically justified (196). It is held that physicians do not kill. The difference between who performs the act. disabling the life support device is considered killing because it is an act. . In the case of the greedy son. not an omission. and is therefore.

opponents will assert the notion that killing deprives a victim of his/her life. Opponents also object because ‘killing’ is psychologically uncomfortable.For the second premise of the central argument. and second. then denying assisted suicide (and euthanasia) is also permissible. For example. Brock counters the opponents’ objections by asserting that assisted suicide (and euthanasia) and foregoing life support treatment are both killing. what makes killing wrong. regardless of whether an action is involved (in the case of someone pushing a button). Brock believes that if denying life support is permissible. because people assume that whatever the physician does cannot be “killings”. This also includes ethically justified cases. in lieu of allowing to die. Opponents believe stopping life support is thought of as allowing to die instead of killing. such as stopping life support. Brock believes this is inaccurate because opponents believe the common use of the word ‘killing’ is always associated with murder. The first is that the act of killing is wrong and is morally unjustified. Their objection to Brock's second premise is offered by two responses. their response is logically limited to first determine that killing is morally worse than allowing to die. or (not in the case of allowing one to die by omission). If opponents continue to discount both of Brock’s two arguments. Using the first response. in situations of stopping life support. Brock believes there is no moral difference between assisted suicide and euthanasia and stopping life support. What this means is that people have a need to retain control . shifting responsibilities (of killing) away from the physician to the fatal or lethal process helps make the resulting death more bearable.

He suspects it may have something to do with individual rights. He justifies his position because the killing of one’s self is not any worse than allowing one to die. Typically. therefore. in cases of assisted suicide and euthanasia. in cases where a patient foregoes LST. can be waived. (194) Brock counter-responds with two additional positions by analogy. Brock. however. Killing deprives a person of that great good. The right. . but not within the current scope of his central argument. he argues. the act of killing cannot be morally worse than allowing to die if there are conflicting moral values of well-being (great good) and individual self determination (retaining control). suggesting first. The analogy Brock uses is based on the case whereby an apparently competent patient is in control and makes an informed decision to refuse life sustaining treatment. Brock believes life is no longer regarded as a great good by the patient. Brock believes that waver can occurs in cases of assisted suicide. does not believe there is a conflict between the fundamental moral values. In Brock’s second position. Brock believes people have a moral right not to be killed.of themselves and their future. This need is referred to as a “great good” and is considered part of the fundamental moral value of well being. decisions are made by individuals having sound moral values of self-determination and well being. The conflict arises when the physician doesn't agree or doesn’t understand the patient’s desire to live and is morally forced to decide between respecting either the patients selfdetermination or the patients well-being.

. selfdetermination carries more weight (if it passes a test of reasonableness). Brock argues that PAS/VAE is not morally wrong because: one. When they are in conflict. he connects PAS/VAE with LST because first.In conclusion. the right of person not to be killed can be waived. Brock interconnects PAS with VAE with no significant. and second. intrinsic moral difference. Next. selfdetermination and well-being must be respected. Secondly. some killing is justified. there is no difference between killing and allowing to die.

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