Ideas of James Rachels, by Theme

[American, fl. 1985, Professor at the University of Alabama, at Birmingham.]

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24. Applied Ethics / C. Death Issues / 5. Euthanasia
If it is desirable that a given patient die, then moral objections to killing them do not apply
     Full Idea: The cause of death (injection or disease) is important from the legal point of view, but not morally. If euthanasia is desirable in a given case then the patient's death is not an evil, so the usual objections to killing do not apply.
     From: James Rachels (No Moral Difference [1975], p.102)
     A reaction: Seems reasonable, but a very consequentialist view. Is it good that small children should clean public toilets?
It has become normal to consider passive euthanasia while condemning active euthanasia
     Full Idea: It seems to have become accepted that passive euthanasia (by withholding treatment and allowing a patient to die) may be acceptable, whereas active euthanasia (direct action to kill the patient) is never acceptable.
     From: James Rachels (No Moral Difference [1975], p.97)
     A reaction: He goes on to attack the distinction. It is hard to distinguish the two cases, as well as being hard to judge them.
28. God / B. Proving God / 2. Proofs of Reason / c. Moral Argument
God must be fit for worship, but worship abandons morally autonomy, but there is no God
     Full Idea: Rachels argues 1) If any being is God, he must be a fitting object of worship, 2) No being could be a fitting object of worship, since worship requires the abandonment of one's role as an autonomous moral agent, so 3) There cannot be a being who is God.
     From: report of James Rachels (God and Human Attributes [1971], 7 p.334) by Brian Davies - Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion 9 'd morality'
     A reaction: Presumably Lionel Messi can be a fitting object of worship without being God. Since the problem is with being worshipful, rather than with being God, should I infer that Messi doesn't exist?