On Clarifying Terms in Applied Ethics Discourse: Suicide, Assisted Suicide, and Euthanasia
International Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp. 351-358, September 2003
8 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2007
All too often in applied ethics debates, there is a danger that a lack of analytical clarity and precision in the use of key terms serves to cloud and confuse the real nature of the debate being undertaken. A particular area of concern in my analysis of the bioethics literature has been the uses to which the key terms "suicide," "assisted suicide," and "euthanasia" are put. The modest aim of this article is to render a contribution to the applied ethics debate on these topics by seeking to delimit the scope and meaning of these terms. The criteria of specificity, non-arbitrariness, consistency (between various terms), and the avoidance of strong pejorative presuppositions, supply the main standards guiding my adoption of usages.
Keywords: Suicide, Assisted Suicide, Euthanasia, PAS, Applied Ethics, Intention
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