The ethics of hastened death are complex. Studies on physicians’ opinions about assisted dying exist, but changes in physicians’ attitudes towards hastened death in clinical decision-making and the background factors explaining this remain unclear. The aim of this study was to explore the changes in these attitudes among Finnish physicians. A questionnaire including hypothetical patient scenarios was sent to 1182 and 1258 Finnish physicians in 1999 and 2015, respectively. Two scenarios of patients with advanced cancer were presented: one requesting an (...) increase in his morphine dose to a potentially lethal level and another suffering a cardiac arrest. Physicians’ attitudes towards assisted death, life values and other background factors were queried as well. The response rate was 56%. The morphine dose was increased by 25% and 34% of the physicians in 1999 and 2015, respectively. Oncologists approved the increase most infrequently without a significant change between the study years. Oncological specialty, faith in God, female gender and younger age were independent factors associated with the reluctance to increase the morphine dose. Euthanasia, but not assisted suicide, was considered less reprehensible in 2015. In both years, most physicians withheld cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Finnish physicians accepted the risk of hastening death more often in 2015 than in 1999. The physicians’ specialty and many other background factors influenced this acceptance. They also regarded euthanasia as less reprehensible now than they did 16 years ago. (shrink)
BackgroundDebates around euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are ongoing around the globe. Public support has been mounting in Western countries, while some decline has been observed in the USA and Eastern Europe. Physicians’ support for euthanasia and PAS has been lower than that of the general public, but a trend toward higher acceptance among physicians has been seen in recent years. The aim of this study was to examine the current attitudes of Finnish physicians toward euthanasia and PAS and whether there (...) have been changes in these attitudes over three decades.MethodsA questionnaire survey was conducted with all Finnish physicians of working age in 2020 and the results were compared to previous studies conducted in 1993, 2003 and 2013.ResultsThe proportions of physicians fully agreeing and fully disagreeing with the legalization of euthanasia increased from 1993 to 2020. The number of physicians, who expressed no opinion for or against euthanasia decreased from 19 to 5% during the same period. The proportion of physicians having no opinion of whether a physician should be punished for assisting in a suicide decreased from 20 to 10%.ConclusionsThis study shows that Finnish physicians’ ambivalence toward euthanasia and PAS has decreased. The ongoing debate has probably forced physicians to form more solid opinions on these matters. Our study highlights that attitudes toward euthanasia and PAS are still divided within the medical profession. (shrink)
Two theses are central to foundationalism. First, the foundationalist claims that there is a class of propositions, a class of empirical contingent beliefs, that are ‘immediately justified’. Alternatively, one can describe these beliefs as ‘self–evident’, ‘non–inferentially justified’, or ‘self–warranted’, though these are not always regarded as entailing one another. The justification or epistemic warrant for these beliefs is not derived from other justified beliefs through inductive evidential support or deductive methods of inference. These ‘basic beliefs’ constitute the foundations of empirical (...) knowledge. One can give a reason for the justification of a basic belief even though the justification for that belief is not based on other beliefs. Thus, according to Chisholm, if asked what one's justification was for thinking that one knew, presently, that one is thinking about a city one takes to be Albuquerque, one could simply say ‘what justifies me…is simply the fact that I am thinking about a city I take to be Albuquerque’. (shrink)
Why does the paradox play such a crucial role in Kierkegaard's notion of truth as subjectivity? Richard Schacht explains it as follows: Eternal happiness is possible for a man only if it is possible for him to relate himself to God. A man, however, is a being who exists in time; and it would not be possible for such a being to enter into a ‘God-relationship’ if God had not also at some point existed in time. Through the ‘leap of (...) faith’ in which one affirms the proposition that God did exist in time, one is able to enter a ‘God-relationship’ and thereby attains ‘an eternal happiness’. (shrink)
Philosophers often distinguish in some way between two senses of life's meaning. Paul Edwards terms these a ‘cosmic’ and ‘terrestrial’ sense. The cosmic sense is that of an overall purpose of which our lives are a part and in terms of which our lives must be understood and our purposes and interests arranged. This overall purpose is often identified with God's divine scheme, but the two need not necessarily be equated. The terrestrial sense of meaning is the meaning people find (...) in their own lives apart from the place of their lives in any ultimate end or context. (shrink)
I shall argue that the question ‘Can we speak literally of God?’ is fundamentally an epistemological question concerning whether we can know that God exists. If and only if we can know that God can exist can we know that we can speak literally of God.
Let us follow Robert Oakes in describing a self-authenticating experience of God as one that ‘would have the epistemic uniqueness of guaranteeing –all by itself – its veridicality to the person who had it.’ The idea that there could be self-authenticating experiences of God has been criticized often in recent years. It seems that the only experiences that could be self-authenticating are those about one's own current psychological states. Nevertheless, the individual who claims to have such an experience of God (...) is clearly using ‘experience’ in such a way as to suppose that one's experience of God is logically independent of the existence of God, but still self-authenticating. (shrink)
Through various applications of the ‘deep structure’ of moral and religious reasoning, I have sought to illustrate the value of a morally informed approach in helping us to understand the complexity of religious thought and practice…religions are primarily moved by rational moral concerns and…ethical theory provides the single most powerful methodology for understanding religious belief. Ronald Green, Religion and Moral Reason.
In The Existence of God Richard Swinburne argues that ‘if there is a God, any experience which seems to be of God, will be genuine – will be of God.’ On the face of it this claim of the essential veridicality of any religious experience, given the existence of God, is incredible. Consider what is being claimed by looking at a particularly dramatic example – but one that is well within the purview of Swinburne's claim. The ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ who murdered (...) at least thirteen women, claimed to hear voices telling him to kill. He took these voices to be divine. While it is easy enough to suspect the killer's sanity, it is not so easy to doubt his sincerity. Yet since Swinburne claims that God probably exists, he is committed to the view that the Ripper had a series of genuine religious experiences – so much for the arduous preparations sometime taken as necessary for a ‘vision’ of God. (shrink)