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Title: The right to be killed : reassessing the case for the moral right to voluntary active euthanasia
Author: Yung, Nancy
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 8016
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis defends an individual's moral right to be aided in dying by a physician (that is, voluntary active euthanasia, or VAE), but departs significantly from the view in its favor generally accepted in the bioethics literature. The prevailing view appeals to both respect for an individual's autonomy and promotion of an individual's well-being as necessary conditions for a right to VAE, so as to justify the right only for those suffering grave illnesses and/or disabilities. The author argues that such a view is logically untenable; one or another aspect must be given up. Since invoking the premise that certain individuals would be better off dead necessarily relies on controversial assumptions about both the value of life and the nature and value of death, about which reasonable people disagree, it is the justification from an individual's best interest which must be excluded in a liberal society. The author endorses a self-determination justification for the right to VAE, but rejects understanding this in terms of respecting personal autonomy, instead making the case for a right to VAE grounded in self-ownership. The author's main conclusion is that the right to VAE is a general right applying to all competent adults, not only those suffering grave illnesses or disabilities, or those whose choice for VAE is an exercise of autonomy. Moreover, by analyzing the basis of physician authority over prescription medicine and how this can be justified to a society of self-owners, she maintains that individuals have not only the right to choose VAE without state interference, but also the right to be provided VAE by doctors. Nevertheless, both rights are compatible with reasonable limitations to protect both the interests of VAE seekers and the rights of others.
Supervisor: Caney, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Autonomy ; Medical Ethics ; Self-ownership ; Bioethics ; Euthanasia ; Professional ethics ; Self-determination ; Voluntary active euthanasia ; Moral rights ; Physician-assisted suicide ; End of life ; Paternalism ; Death ; Moral philosophy ; Right to die ; Dying ; Medical ethics