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Finding ConsciousnessThe Neuroscience, Ethics, and Law of Severe Brain Damage$
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Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190280307

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190280307.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 26 May 2022

Lay Attitudes to Withdrawal of Treatment in Disorders of Consciousness and Their Normative Significance

Lay Attitudes to Withdrawal of Treatment in Disorders of Consciousness and Their Normative Significance

Chapter:
(p.137) 9 Lay Attitudes to Withdrawal of Treatment in Disorders of Consciousness and Their Normative Significance
Source:
Finding Consciousness
Author(s):

Jacob Gipson

Guy Kahane

Julian Savulescu

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190280307.003.0009

This chapter first outlines a general framework for addressing ethical issues by applying Beauchamp and Childress’s principles of autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. The authors then report the results of their survey of how laypeople rank these principles and reach overall judgments about whether patients with various disorders of consciousness should be allowed to die. The survey responses differ from those of physicians and bioethicists in fascinating ways. They also vary depending on whether the question is asked abstractly or concerns an actual concrete case and whether the question is about treatment withdrawal for other people or for themselves if they were in such a condition. The authors close by arguing that popular opinions about issues such as treatment withdrawal have indirect relevance to normative issues regarding what we should do.

Keywords:   consciousness, vegetative state, minimally conscious state, brain damage, ethics, autonomy, beneficence, justice, popular opinion

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