Review essay, on the structure of the euthanasia debate: observations provoked by a near-perfect for-and-against book
Something is amiss with the euthanasia debate, and I want to use a smart new book to try to show what it is. The book is Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: For and Against, an eagerly awaited volume by three well-known philosophers, Gerald Dworkin, R. G. Frey, and Sissela Bok. Dworkin and Frey are on the “for” side of the euthanasia and physicianassisted suicide debate; Bok is on the “against” side. This little book provides an ideal occasion to comment on the structure of the debate over euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, a debate that has been developing over the past ten years or so in medical, academic, and public circles; indeed, this little book is a virtually perfect specimen for showing what is going on in these debates. More important, however, it is also a near-perfect specimen for showing what, unfortunately, isn’t going on. Of course, the Dworkin, Frey, and Bok book is just one of many, many current volumes in the controversies over euthanasia and physicianassisted suicide, and it is a better book than many—among other things, in the distinction of its authors, in the clarity and rigor with which most of it is argued, and in its sensitivity to many of the deepest issues.
Duke University Press
Battin, M. P. (2000). Review essay, on the structure of the euthanasia debate: observations provoked by a near-perfect for-and-against book. review of Gerald Dworkin, Raymond Frey, and Sissela Bok, Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide (Cambridge University Press, 1998), and other work. Review Symposium on Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide, Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, 25(2), 415-30.