Assignment 11



Read pages 193 to 217 and answer the following questions:

1. What are the initial reasons Singer gives for supporting the allowance of voluntary euthanasia?  Do you agree
or disagree with this assessment?

2. Common arguments against euthanasia are that it will be used too liberally and that it will be used in cases
where recovery has some small probability.  What are the counterarguments to these?

3. What is your view on the legitimacy of governments in legislating against self-harm?  Should people be free to
eat and drink whatever they want?  Ingest any drug of their choosing?  Injure themselves physically?  Commit suicide?
Are there any principles which can be followed in deciding upon these issues?

4. If you had a child that was born with significant disabilities or medical complications, what factors would you
consider in deciding whether or not to let the child's life end without treatment?  

5. Should the government have any role in the type of decision mentioned above, or should it be entirely the choice
of the parents, family, and doctors involved?

6. Having read this section, what is your opinion now of the moral distinction between letting a patient die of an infection
and administering a lethal drug injection that leads to death?  Is one more right or wrong than another?  What is the
reasoning behind your decision?

7. If it is decided that a severely disabled infant has very little chance of leading any life other than one full of 
difficulty and suffering, is it better to let the infant die of natural causes or to administer a lethal drug injection?
Or should all measures available be used to save the infant?  What is the reasoning behind your decision?

8. What is Singer's response to the suggestion that the active killing of terminally-ill patients may lead to wide-spread
killing of those deemed undesirable by prevailing governmental bodies?

9. In general, what is wrong with using slippery slope arguments?  Present an instance where conceeding the point to a 
slippery slopist would lead to absurd results.