In his essay, Schneiderman accepts the premise that a system that provides medical care based upon judgments of an individual’s ‘social worth’ would be problematic.

1. In his essay, Schneiderman accepts the premise that a system that provides medical care based upon judgments of an individual’s ‘social worth’ would be problematic. He argues that his view, which defines each person’s ‘decent minimum’ package of care based upon features of her life, does not create a “hierarchy of ‘merit or wealth or social worth’ as a standard for distributing life-sustaining benefits.” Based upon the way Schneiderman writes about it, what does ‘social worth’ seem to mean in this context? Carefully consider the way Schneiderman’s view works, including his answers to other objections he anticipates. Is he correct in his self-defense? If so, what more should he say to make clearer how he avoids the trap of employing judgments of ‘social worth’? If he is not correct, and his self-defense fails, explain how ‘social worth’ is still creeping into his system. 2. Until very recently, the ethical stance of most physicians and institutions regarding the withdrawal of treatment (knowing that it would cause death) presumed that the patient must be “terminally ill” and “suffering intolerably.” Callahan argues that one of the predictable consequences of accepting active euthanasia is that there will be no way to avoid extreme outcomes given the “slipperiness” of relying upon both beneficence (i.e. mercy or well-being) and autonomy. He characterizes one of these extremes thus: “Why must the person be suffering?… How can self-determination have limits?” (p. 54) Put another way, if a patient with decision-making capacity argued that she was suffering intolerably, why would it be relevant whether she was terminally ill? As it happens, the type of slide Callahan forecast has begun to occur in regard to cessation of treatment, where it is now considered acceptable to cease providing nutrition or hydration to a patient who asserts that her suffering has become intolerable. Was Callahan correct to sound a warning about the danger of granting autonomy the utter authority over a person’s life? In the context of euthanasia (either active or passive), does it matter that a person be terminally ill? If it does make a difference, explain why that is so. If it does not matter that a person be terminally ill, is there any way of stopping short of providing euthanasia (either active or passive) to the broken-hearted twenty-year-old who is certain he can never love again? 3. Brock argues that while innocent persons generally do have a right against being killed, this is a right that a person can voluntarily waive. But Callahan argues that this is not possible. Certain rights, Callahan argues, cannot be waived under any circumstance. He thinks that one’s right to liberty and one’s right to life are of this kind. Thus, one cannot enslave oneself to another (in the sense of giving up all claim to freedom in perpetuity, even if one changes one’s mind later). And one cannot (morally) ask another person to cause one’s death. Think about the many kinds of rights people are said to have and to exercise daily against each other. Admittedly, this is an area where the distinctions between morality, custom, and law can be obscure. For instance, some deeply cherished rights are protected by law, although they are nearly as often characterized as moral rights that should be guaranteed by law. Reflect, too, on the analysis Thomson offered of the problems with the concept “a right to life.” Who is correct, Brock or Callahan? 4. In this week’s article, Kamm unearths several of Sandel’s assumptions about what is natural, how it should be valued, and what moral obligations (some of them prohibitions) are created by those values. Review what Kamm has to say about “the natural” and nature itself, which is certainly random in its features and its “gifts” to a newborn. She notices that it is unclear how we could develop a moral value (an ‘ought’) over a given feature simply because it is “natural” (something that exists or ‘is’). Then consider the open question Kamm leaves in the final paragraph of her conclusion. Supposing that it were morally permissible to practice genetic enhancement (and supposing other problems like just distribution of those benefits were ensured), what kinds of “good ends” would be appropriate? That is, what kinds of enhanced features could be assumed not to interfere with any other capacities? THESE ALL NEED TO BE 350+ WORDS, CHICAGO CITING


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