Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 297-300

First online:

(Mis)Understanding Singer: Replaceability of children or intellectual endeavour?

  • E.L.M. MaeckelbergheAffiliated withHealth Sciences/Medical Ethics, University of Groningen

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Should doctors have the possibility to save children from incurable suffering and end their lives?. At first glance, the standpoints in the debate around this question seem translucent and well known and the debate intelligible. I contend that this is not the case and I will illustrate this in analysing the debate between Peter Singer and Ulrich Bleidick. Whomever wants to answer the question whether it is acceptable to end the lives of suffering small children will have to do some careful reading and thinking about the different and differing moral arguments in the debate. This demands emotional restraint and intellectual honesty. Trying to understand Singer and his opponents is a challenging way of charting what exactly is at stake in this debate.

children disability end of life mental impairment replaceability of children