Levinas and the euthanasia debate

Nuyen, A. T. (2000) Levinas and the euthanasia debate. Journal of Religious Ethics, 28 1: 119-135. doi:10.1111/0384-9694.00038


Author Nuyen, A. T.
Title Levinas and the euthanasia debate
Journal name Journal of Religious Ethics
ISSN 0384-9694
1467-9795
0145-2797
Publication date 2000-03-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/0384-9694.00038
Volume 28
Issue 1
Start page 119
End page 135
Total pages 17
Place of publication Malden, MA, U.S.A.
Publisher Blackwell
Language eng
Subject C1
440104 Applied Ethics (incl. Bioethics and Environmental Ethics)
780199 Other
Formatted abstract
The philosophers' tendency to characterize euthanasia interms of either the right or the responsibility to die is, in some ways, problematic. Stepping outside of the analytic framework, the author draws out the implications of the ethics of Emmanuel Levinas for the euthanasia debate, tracing the way Levinas's position differs not only from the philosophical consensus but also from the theological one. The article shows that, according to Levinas, there is no ethical case for suicide or assisted suicide. Death cannot be assumed or chosen—not only because suicide is a logically and metaphysically contradictory concept but also because in the choice of death ethical responsibility turns into irresponsibility. However, since Levinas holds that one must be responsible to the point of expiation, he can be said to approve certain actions that may have the consequence of hastening death.
© 2000 Journal of Religious Ethics, Inc.
Keyword Death
Dying
Ethics
Euthanasia
Levinas
Responsibility
Suicide
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
 
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Created: Tue, 10 Jun 2008, 22:23:30 EST