Professional-Role Obligations and Assisted Dying

Although it has received growing support over the past decades, medically-assisted dying (which includes euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide) continues to be opposed by a significant percentage of clinicians, associations of healthcare professions, and the public in general. One of the most common arguments that medically-assisted dying is unethical is based on the idea that there is an inherent conflict between such a practice and the unique professional role of the clinician (the physician, nurse, etc.). At the core of these arguments lies the notion that the nature of healthcare professions, and the roles they inherently encompass, generate obligations that run counter to causing (or helping to cause) the death of the patient in the manner characteristic of medically-assisted death. This talk will explore that sort of argument and evaluate its merits. It will aim to clarify the sort of professional-role arguments in question, identify the underlying assumptions on which such arguments are based, distinguish between various versions of the argument, and identify what, if anything, we may plausibly conclude from them. In the end, it shall be suggested that the merits of professional-role arguments against
medically-assisted dying are not nearly as convincing as their proponents would hope.

Eric Vogelstein is an Associate Professor at Duquesne University, with a joint appointment in the School of Nursing and the Department of Philosophy. He works in biomedical and ethical theory. Vogelstein received his Ph. D. in philosophy from   the University of Texas at Austin in 2010. He has published on a variety of topics, including papers on the ethics of advance directives and surrogate decision-making, physician-assisted suicide, the morality of abortion, moral expertise, nursing ethics, moral sentimentalism, and the nature of moral reasons. His work has appeared in Bioethics, the Journal of Ethics, the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Nursing Ethics, the Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Philosophical Studies, and Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, among other journals and edited volumes.

Moderation: Juniorprofessorin Dr. Dr. Sabine Salloch

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