ERGO reports: Professor Ronald Dworkin, who has died aged 81, was, at various times, Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford, Sommer Professor of Law and Philosophy at New York University and Jeremy Bentham Professor of Jurisprudence at University College London; he was widely regarded as one of the most influential philosophers of law of the post-war era. Dworkin’s books include Life’s Dominion (1990), dealing with the ‘right to Life’ debate. This book is sub-titled “An Argument about Abortion, Euthanasia, and individual Freedom”On euthanasia, he writes in part :
“But the laws of all Western countries (except in practice, The Netherlands,) still prohibits doctors and others from directly killing people at their own request, by injecting an immediately lethal poison, for example”.
“So the law produces the apparently irrational result that people can choose to die lingering deaths by refusing to eat, by refusing treatment that keeps them alive,or by being disconnected from respirators and suffocating, but they cannot choose a quick, painless death that their doctors could easily provide”.
“Many people, including many doctors, think that this distinction is not irrational but, on the contrary, essential. They think that doctors should in no circumstances be killers. But to many other people, that principle seems cruelly abstract”.
The Telegraph in London reported his obituary in full.