03 March 2016
SPEL Colloquium: Bonnie Steinbock
Bonnie Steinbock, professor of Philosophy, University at Albany, will speak on “Should Criteria for Physician-Assisted Death (PAD) Be Expanded to Include (Some) Psychiatric Conditions?”from Friday, March 4, in UUW-324. This event is free and open to the public.
While this is not a serious issue either for those who oppose PAD in all cases, or for those who think it should be available to all competent individuals who request it, it is a serious issue for those who generally support PAD, but think it should be limited. The question then is, what are reasonable limits? Some restrictions, such as terminal illness (required in all US states that allow aid-in-dying), seem arbitrary. Terminal illness is not required in Belgium or the Netherlands, nor was it mentioned by the decision of the Supreme Court in Canada. Other restrictions, such as competence, raise questions about the interpretation of competence, and specifically, whether and to what extent psychiatric illness negates competence. Is the expansion of PAD to include some psychiatric conditions in Belgium and the Netherlands evidence of a very slippery slope (as Art Caplan claims) or the compassionate thing to do in some cases?