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Autonomy and the value of life as elements of human dignity


Muders, Sebastian (2017). Autonomy and the value of life as elements of human dignity. In: Muders, Sebastian. Human dignity and assisted death. Oxford: Oxford University Press, online.

Abstract

Within the debate on assisted suicide and euthanasia, the arguments from autonomy and from the special value of life are often linked to human dignity in order to make the normative principles they defend more resistant against competing considerations. However, the resulting conceptions of dignity are usually presented as competing with each other; that is, either one spells out human dignity in terms of autonomy, or one explicates it in terms of the value of human life. As an alternative, this chapter offers a “combined approach”: It seeks to explicate dignity in terms of specific interpretations of both autonomy and life’s value in a way that ascribes a unique normative role to both. This can help explain the complex attitudes toward various cases that are discussed in the debate on assisted suicide and euthanasia. The upshot will be that the arguments from autonomy and from the value of life can be recognized as valid without having strict priority with respect to one another. Still, each one might be employed for turning the tide in favour or against assisted suicide and euthanasia within specific cases

Abstract

Within the debate on assisted suicide and euthanasia, the arguments from autonomy and from the special value of life are often linked to human dignity in order to make the normative principles they defend more resistant against competing considerations. However, the resulting conceptions of dignity are usually presented as competing with each other; that is, either one spells out human dignity in terms of autonomy, or one explicates it in terms of the value of human life. As an alternative, this chapter offers a “combined approach”: It seeks to explicate dignity in terms of specific interpretations of both autonomy and life’s value in a way that ascribes a unique normative role to both. This can help explain the complex attitudes toward various cases that are discussed in the debate on assisted suicide and euthanasia. The upshot will be that the arguments from autonomy and from the value of life can be recognized as valid without having strict priority with respect to one another. Still, each one might be employed for turning the tide in favour or against assisted suicide and euthanasia within specific cases

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Uncontrolled Keywords:value of life, autonomy, assisted dying, human dignity, human capacities, dignity as authority, dignity as a value
Language:English
Date:October 2017
Deposited On:15 Dec 2017 12:24
Last Modified:16 Mar 2018 13:25
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISBN:9780190675967
Additional Information:Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190675967.003.0008
Related URLs:http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/oso/9780190675967.001.0001/oso-9780190675967-chapter-8

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