phone, office information
Medical Ethics: 3 June. Consent as a way out?
The meaning of lifeI meant to add one thing. Often, "the meaning of life" seems like a silly thing to talk about because people expect a kind of answer that is too specific. They think that a philosophical discussion of the meaning of life will tell them what to do with their lives, who to marry, what job to take, and so on. That's probably not going to happen (or, if it did, it's not advice that you'd want to accept: beware of gurus).
But we can still say sensible things about the meaning and value of life; we just have to restrict ourselves to saying something more abstract than that. It all depends on the level of description that you employ. (Of course, since it's so abstract, it's hard to see if what we said was true. But that's a different problem).
ConsentThat last piece about consent went by rather quickly, so here are my notes.
1. Why consent is attractive
a) helps to make questionable, difficult value judgments: if we're unsure about the relative value of life as an older person vs. the quality of life as a younger person, we should let affected people decide instead of trying to make a decision ourselves.
2. versions of consent
a) actual consent: what you did agree to
3. problems with actual consent
a) generally can't be obtained for many questions: e.g. value of life -- the best we can do is survey some people and extrapolate the results to the population at large.
4. problems with hypothetical consent
a) information is even less reliable: are we sure that's what people really would have decided on?
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