Ethics Committee: Dax Cowart

Pre-class Questions

Watch the linked video and answer the following questions BEFORE class on Friday 

  1. Describe the ethical aspects of the case as though you were describing it to someone who hasn’t seen the video.
  2. Explain which bioethical principles are involved.
  3. Describe what you think should have been done in the case. Justify your answer by appealing to concepts from the course.

In-Class Discussion Questions

  1. Discuss each other’s answers for 2 above. Reach a consensus.
  2. Dworkin makes the distinction between attaching “unreasonable” weights to values and failing to act according to values.
    1. In which type of case do you think paternalism is more permissible?
    2. Which of these two kinds of situations best describes Dax’s case? Explain your answer.
  3. In Dworkin’s article (P. 102 beginning in the first full paragraph), he considers what sort of paternalist policy a rational person might accept with respect to suicide.
    1. Summarize his view.
    2. Would you apply these policies to the Dax case? Why or why not? Justify your answer.
  4. On p. 102 1st full paragraph of the 2nd column, Dworkin describes a “third class of decisions” which involve dangers which are either not sufficiently understood OR appreciated correctly by the persons involved (or both).
    1. Do you think either or both of these describe the Dax case? Justify your answer by appealing to specific parts the documentary.
  5. Dworkin offers two principles that must be met for paternalistic legislation to be morally legitimate.
    1. What are they?
    2. Suggest a policy for cases like the Dax case. Explain how your policy is consistent with the two principles.
    3. If you had been the doctor, what would you have done? Justify your answer.