The Moral Dilemmas Of Active And Active Euthanasia By James Rachels

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James Rachels believes that active and passive euthanasia are not morally different from each other (Timmons, 2007, p.346). He uses the cases of Smith and Jones to argue against those that believe active euthanasia, the act killing someone, is morally worse than passive euthanasia, the act of letting some one die (Timmons, 2007, p.347). In the case of Smith and Jones, both of the men will acquire a large inheritance if anything were to happen to their six-year-cousins (Timmons, 2007, p.347-348). One night Smith and Jones both sneak into the bathroom while the child is in the bath, with the intention of killing him (Timmons, 2007, p.348). Smith walks into the bathroom and drowns the child, on the other hand, when Jones walks in he sees the child fall, hit his head, and drown, while he does nothing but watch (Timmons, 2007, p.348). In both of these cases the men set out to kill their cousin, the only difference being that Smith did in fact kill his cousin but Jones let him die (Timmons, 2007, p.348). Rachel concludes that there is no moral difference between killing and letting die, as in this case both Smith and Jones had set out with the intention of killing their cousin (Timmons, 2007, p.348). Rachels applies these…show more content…
Overall, Rachels states that although active euthanasia is prohibited, doctors should be aware that the law is forcing them to follow a predetermined moral doctrine and not their own personal moral beliefs (Timmons, 2007, p.349). The main take away from this argument is that the 1973 AMA policy forbids active euthanasia and allows some cases of passive euthanasia where the doctor is permitted to let the patient die, however, Rachels strongly believes that there is no moral difference between active and passive euthanasia (Timmons, 2007,

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