Key Concepts for Selected Articles

by Dr. Jan Garrett

This page was last revised February 17, 2010.

Warning: The page numbers correspond to an edition prior to 2010.

Chapter on Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, etc.

Introduction to Chapter

See also "End of Life Distinctions," under "Contemporary Issues" section of the course website. Values invoked and concepts employed in debate: sanctity of life (189), autonomy and self-determination (189), principle of nonmaleficence, princ. of mercy (190), death with dignity (190-91), quality of life (190), ordinary v. extraordinary treatment (191), physician's role (192), justice and equality (192); burden to society (193), slippery slope (193).


mercy, principle of (200.1), passive euthanasia (201.1), active euthanasia (201.1), principle of [patient] autonomy (202.2-203.1), limited paternalism (203.2), extended ("hard") paternalism (203.2), argument from justice for active euthanasia (205.1), slippery slope objection (205.1-2)


rights and universal principles perspective (221.1), care and relationships paerspective (221.1), equation of goodness with self-sacrifice (222.1), importance of context (224.1), patient as isolated monad (224.1), patient agency and physician agency (224.2-225.1), interweaving of perspectives (225)


Social constructionist theory
"Humanism" (=an aspect of the liberal view of rights)
Pornography (two meanings, one legal, the other more sociological)
Erotica (compare with legal meaning of porn)
Puritan moralism
The harm claim
Practice compared with an idea

Mill on Liberty

What affects the self, the personal sphere
What directly affects other people
The inward domain of consciousness
Liberty of conscience
Liberty of tastes and pursuits
Liberty of combination


Rational autonomy
Universal human nature
Responsibility Thesis
Individualism Thesis
Rights Thesis
Limited State Thesis
Gender Essentialism
Genetic determinism
Autonomy on a continuum


hate speech
sexually explicit speech
viewpoint neutrality
clear and present danger


Benefit (370.1)
Moral superiority (=moral preferability) of an act
Pleasure (370.2)
Completeness of a sexual act (371.1)
Naturalness of a sexual act compared with "perversion " (372.2)
Nagel's view of perversion (distinguished from R's) (373)
Prima facie good (376)
Three approaches to the discussion of sexual pleasure and completeness (377.1-2)

Vatican Sexual Ethics

Find the non-religious arguments embedded in the statement.

Finality (=natural purpose) of the sexual act (366)
Prinicipal criterion of sexual morality (366)
Stability of marriage
Exclusive union
External manifestation of consent
Objective moral order (367)
Moral disorder (367)