Rethinking Life & Death - The Collapse Our Traditional Ethics
Singer (Peter)
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Amazon Customer Review

  1. Reviewing the major cases that have shaped bioethical thinking on life and death, Peter Singer dares what no other philosopher has: namely, challenge society's conventional beliefs about the meaning of life and death.
  2. He poses many ethical questions that are raised because of medicine's ability to maintain brain dead bodies functioning at any costs. From the tale of Trisha Marshall whose 'life' was maintained by a respirator for 100 days until she delivered her baby, to the cases of Nancy Cruzan and Anthony Bland, patients in a persistent vegetative state1 supported by artificial nutrition and hydration, Singer argues that law and medicine have moved to an ethic where 'quality of life' distinctions trump the traditional 'sanctity of life' positions.
  3. Throughout this book, Singer presents provocative and challenging views through ethical and historical analysis of brain death2, abortion3, euthanasia and organ donation, thus providing a deep and textured discussion of the major medical ethics problems that we face.

Chapters
    Part 1: Doubtful Endings
  1. Birth after Death
  2. How Death was Redefined
  3. Dr. Shann’s Dilemma
  4. Tony Bland and the Sanctity of Human Life
    Part 2: Crumbling at the Edges
  5. Uncertain Beginnings
  6. Making Quality of Life Judgments
  7. Asking for Death
  8. Beyond the Discontinuous Mind
    Part 3: Towards a Coherent Approach
  9. In Place of the Old Ethic

BOOK COMMENT:

OUP, 1994



"Singer (Peter) - Rethinking Life & Death: Prologue"

Source: Singer - Rethinking Life & Death - The Collapse Our Traditional Ethics, Prologue


Back Cover Blurb
  1. A victim of the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989, Anthony Bland lay in hospital in a coma being fed liquid food by a pump, via a tube passing through his nose and into his stomach. On 4 February 1993 Britain's highest court ruled that doctors attending him could lawfully act to end his life.
  2. Our traditional ways of thinking about life and death are collapsing. In a world of respirators and embryos1 stored for years in liquid nitrogen, we can no longer take the sanctity of human life as the cornerstone of our ethical outlook.
  3. In this controversial book Peter Singer argues that we cannot deal with the crucial issues of death, abortion2, euthanasia and the rights of nonhuman animals unless we sweep away the old ethic and build something new in its place.
  4. Singer outlines a new set of commandments, based on compassion and commonsense, for the decisions everyone must make about life and death.



"Singer (Peter) - Birth after Death"

Source: Singer - Rethinking Life & Death - The Collapse Our Traditional Ethics, Chapter 1


Sections
  1. An American story
  2. A German story
  3. Our choice



"Singer (Peter) - How Death was Redefined"

Source: Singer - Rethinking Life & Death - The Collapse Our Traditional Ethics, Chapter 2


Sections
  1. Pink, supple … and dead
  2. ‘The burden is great’: The Harvard committee on the determination of death
  3. A revolution without opposition
  4. Brain death1: Who believes it?
  5. An unstable compromise



"Singer (Peter) - Dr. Shann’s Dilemma"

Source: Singer - Rethinking Life & Death - The Collapse Our Traditional Ethics, Chapter 3


Sections
  1. Two babies
  2. Breathing but dead?
  3. The case for a higher brain definition of death
  4. Against brain death1
  5. A way forward?



"Singer (Peter) - Tony Bland and the Sanctity of Human Life"

Source: Singer - Rethinking Life & Death - The Collapse Our Traditional Ethics, Chapter 4


Sections
  1. Tony Bland’s tragedy
  2. Deciding on the basis of quality of life
  3. Lawfully intending to end innocent human life
  4. Beyond the sanctity of human life
  5. Acts and omissions



"Singer (Peter) - Uncertain Beginnings"

Source: Singer - Rethinking Life & Death - The Collapse Our Traditional Ethics, Chapter 5


Sections
  1. Peggy Stinson’s puzzle
  2. The unavoidable issue
  3. The era of legal abortion1
  4. New Reproductive technology and the abortion2 debate
  5. Unlocking the abortion3 deadlock



"Singer (Peter) - Making Quality of Life Judgments"

Source: Singer - Rethinking Life & Death - The Collapse Our Traditional Ethics, Chapter 6


Sections
  1. How the Regan administration chose a quality of life ethic
  2. Treating to die
  3. Selective non-treatment and infanticide



"Singer (Peter) - Asking for Death"

Source: Singer - Rethinking Life & Death - The Collapse Our Traditional Ethics, Chapter 7


Sections
  1. The problem
  2. The solution?
  3. How voluntary euthanasia became possible in the Netherlands
  4. The coming struggle for the right to die
  5. Sliding down a slippery slope
  6. Breaking the commandment



"Singer (Peter) - Beyond the Discontinuous Mind"

Source: Singer - Rethinking Life & Death - The Collapse Our Traditional Ethics, Chapter 8


Sections
  1. An unusual institution
  2. Whose organs may we take?
  3. In God’s image and at the centre of the universe
  4. The western tradition under attack
  5. Who is homo?
  6. Who is a person?


Notes
  1. The “discontinuous mind” belongs to those who make a marked distinction between humans and other animals – the usage appears to be from Dawkins.
  2. The “unusual institution” is one in the Netherlands where people without language lived in community.



"Singer (Peter) - In Place of the Old Ethic"

Source: Singer - Rethinking Life & Death - The Collapse Our Traditional Ethics, Chapter 9


Sections
  1. The structure of ethical revolutions
  2. Rewriting the commandments
  3. Some answers
  4. The basis of the new approach to life and death



Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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