‘Total disability’ and the wrongness of killing

Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (8):661-662 (2015)
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Abstract
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Franklin G Miller recently argued that the wrongness of killing is best explained by the harm that comes to the victim, and that ‘total disability’ best explains the nature of this harm. Hence, killing patients who are already totally disabled is not wrong. I maintain that their notion of total disability is ambiguous and that they beg the question with respect to whether there are abilities left over that remain relevant for the goods of personhood and human worth. If these goods remain, then something more is lost in death than in ‘total disability,’ and their explanation of what makes killing wrong comes up short. But if total disability is equivalent with death, then their argument is an interesting one.
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