As medical technology advances and severely injured or ill people can be kept alive and functioning long beyond what was previously medically possible, the debate surrounding the ethics of end-of-life care and quality-of-life issues has grown more urgent. In this lucid and vigorous book, Craig Paterson discusses assisted suicide and euthanasia from a fully fledged but non-dogmatic secular natural law perspective. He rehabilitates and revitalises the natural law approach to moral reasoning by developing a pluralistic account of just why we are required by practical rationality to respect and not violate key demands generated by the primary goods of persons, especially human life. Important issues that shape the moral quality of an action are explained and analysed: intention/foresight; action/omission; action/consequences; killing/letting die; innocence/non-innocence; person/non-person. Paterson defends the central normative proposition that 'it is always a serious moral wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human person, whether self or another, notwithstanding any further appeal to consequences or motive'.
Craig Paterson is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and an independent scholar. Previously he was engaged in Information Science research at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA and was previously an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Providence College, USA.
Contents: Introduction; Justifications for suicide, assisted suicide and euthanasia; A revised natural law ethics; The good of human life; Suicide, assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia; Non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia; State intervention and the common good; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.