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Levinas, Euthanasia, and the Duality of the Moral Subject


Levinas, Euthanasia, and the Duality of the Moral Subject

Lapointe, Zachary (2022) Levinas, Euthanasia, and the Duality of the Moral Subject. [Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)] (Unpublished)

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This MRP is concerned with the Leviansian conception of the subject as moral agent and its consequences for the bioethical problem of euthanasia. The goal is to show how the ineliminable tension in Levinas’ philosophy between the singularity of the Other and the demands of the third party are exacerbated in matters concerning how to responsibly approach the terminally ill. Since the appeal of singularity is encountered in the face to face, generality is epistemologically restricted to secondhand accounts of this appeal. It is the individual that is situated between the demands of the third party and the singular Other which means we cannot consider legislation and medical policy as the be all end all way to responsibly approach euthanasia. Euthanasia policy should be mindful of the ineliminability of this tension and instead seek to offer avenues for individuals to engage with euthanasia responsibly should they feel compelled to seek out that option. Of course, no amount of mindfulness could transcend the necessity of this tension, but we can at least work to mitigate the harm social and medical policies cause to individuals, families, and physicians who are put in the unfortunate position of needing to consider euthanasia. Finally, we must also remember that due to the nature of this tension being ineliminable and due to Levinas situating the moral agent as irreplaceable, we can never rule out the possibility of acting against or in spite of medical/legal policy in response to a perceived failure of those generalities to properly accommodate the singular Other. Concretely this means that I may feel morally obligated to engage in euthanasia practices even if it is not legal, even if it goes against my responsibility to the third party, for the sake of fulfilling my responsibility to those I encounter.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Philosophy
Item Type:Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)
Authors:Lapointe, Zachary
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Date:15 September 2022
ID Code:991146
Deposited By: Zachary Lapointe
Deposited On:19 Sep 2022 18:53
Last Modified:19 Sep 2022 18:53
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