Sunday, March 27, 2005

Dead Reckoning

I must admit, I have strenuously avoided reading anything about a certain Floridian unpleasantness concerning euthanasia. However, in our media-soaked world, enough has made it through my filters to force my commentary. The arguments that I have seen have been confused and emotional, so, in my vanity, I, standing as a god above it all, descend to clarify things (but in a suitably godlike manner, refuse to render a clean verdict). The issue at hand is not whether to (or who has the authority to) remove the feeding tube. The issue is the exact nature of the patient; i.e., what moral classification should she receive? We can tell that she's alive (biologically). We can tell that she's human (genetically). What we have not determined is whether or not she is a person. In order determine whether we should continue nurturing her, we must first define exactly what constitutes a "person." We might, furthermore, determine that being a "person" is a quantitative, not a qualitative, distinction, and judge accordingly.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Noumenon said...

I must admit, I have strenuously avoided reading anything about a certain Floridian unpleasantness concerning euthanasia.

But since you're commenting it seems that was because you felt it was unpleasant and not because it's unimportant. I, on the other hand, place it square next to the O.J. Simpson trial in things that just don't matter. They're like Internet trolls: they provoke all kinds of responses in others, but provide no content themselves.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Noumenon said...

That was kind of jerkish as well, but I am just looking for a place to shout out, "It just doesn't matter!" And I have expectations of you being a cold-hearted creature like me.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

I don't necessarily think of myself as cold-hearted, but I do have a tendency to abstract myself from a situation, which makes me seem very cold-hearted.

12:33 AM  
Anonymous Noumenon said...

Speaking of cold-hearted (and funny), check out this blog.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Hamlette said...

It seemed like an interesting case at first, worthy of a smidgen of attention. But now it's just degenerated into some sort of Scott & Lacy Peterson thing, and any thoughts of caring I may have had are thoroughly squashed.

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Philosopher Poet said...

http://www.ravingatheist.com/

It's not just the Extreme Right that cares either....

5:41 AM  

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