Skip to main content

Module Reading List

Ethical Issues at the End of Life, 2021/22, Semester 1
Dr Carl Fox
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

M3.1a Is Death a Harm?

What is so bad about death? Is death a harm for the person who dies?  

Required Reading

Thomas Nagel, 'Death' in his Mortal Questions, (Cambridge University Press, 1979) [electronic copy available in the library].

Further Reading

Luper, Steven, "Death", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =

Top of page

M3.1b The Wrongness of Killing

What's wrong with killing?

Required Reading

Peter Singer, 'What's Wrong With Killing? ' in his Practical Ethics, (Cambridge University Press, 2011) [electronic copy available in the library].

Further Reading

Germain Grisez and Joseph M. Boyle Jr., 'The Morality of Killing: A Traditional View', in Helga Kuhse and Peter Singer (eds.), Bioethics. (Chapter 22 in 1st Edition, Chapter 27 in 2nd Edition).

Device, Philip E., The ethics of homicide, (Cornell University Press, 1978).

Campbell, Robert and Collinson, Diane, Ending lives, (Basil Blackwell, 1988).

Glover, J. (2006). The sanctity of life. In: Kuhse, H. & Singer, P. (eds.) Bioethics: An Anthology. London: Blackwell. 266–275  [electronic copy available in the library].

Maclean, Anne, The elimination of morality : reflections on utilitarianism and bioethics, (Routledge, 1993), Chapters 6 and 7.

Top of page

M3.2a Killing and Letting Die

Required Reading

Winston Nesbitt, 'Is Killing No Worse that Letting Die? ' in Helga Kuhse and Peter Singer (eds.), Bioethics: An Anthology Third Edition (Blackwell), pp. 252-256 [electronic copy available in the library].  

Helga Kuhse, 'Why Killing is Not Always Worse – and Sometimes Better – Than Letting Die', in Helga Kuhse and Peter Singer (eds.), Bioethics: An Anthology Third Edition (Blackwell), pp. 257-260 [electronic copy available in the library].

Further Reading

Dinello, Daniel, 'On Killing and Letting Die', Analysis., 31/3 (1971): 83-86.

Campbell, Robert and Collinson, Diane, Ending lives, (Basil Blackwell, 1988).

McMahan. J., 'Intention Permissibility, Terrorism, and War', Philosophical perspectives. 2009, 345-372.

Quinn, Warren, ‘Actions, Intentions, and Consequences: The Doctrine of Doing and Allowing’, Philosophical review., 98/3 (1989): 287-312.

Rakowski, Eric, ‘Taking and Saving Lives’, in John Harris (ed.), Bioethics, (Oxford University Press, 2001).

Scanlon, T.M. (2008). Moral Dimensions: Meaning, Permissibility and Blame. Cambridge MA: Belknap Press.

Scheffler, Samuel, ‘Doing and Allowing’, Ethics. 114/2 (2004).

Thomson, Judith Jarvis, 'Self-Defense', Philosophy and Public Affairs, 20/4 (1991): 283-310.

Top of page

M3.2b Passive and Active Euthanasia

Required Reading

Brock, Dan W. 'Voluntary Active Euthanasia', Hastings Center report., 22, 2 (1992): 10-22

Rachels, James. “Active and Passive Euthanasia”, in Helga Kuhse and Peter Singer (eds.), Bioethics: An Anthology Third Edition (Blackwell), pp. 248-251 [electronic copy available in the library].

Further Reading

Foot, Phillippa, 'Euthanasia', in her Virtues and vices, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978).

Rachels, James. The end of life : euthanasia and morality, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986)

Harris, J. The value of life, (London: Routledge, 1985), Chs 1-4

Kuhse, Helga and Singer, Peter. Should the baby live? : the problem of handicapped infants  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985)

Keown, John (ed.) Euthanasia examined : ethical, clinical and legal perspectives, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)

Gormally, Luke (ed.) Euthanasia, clinical practice, and the law, (London: Linacre Centre, 1994) 

Downing, AB and Smoker, B (eds.) Voluntary euthanasia : experts debate the right to die, (London, Peter Owen, 1986)

Tangwa, G. B. (1996) ‘Bioethics: An African Perspective’, Bioethics, 10 (3), pp.183-200.

Veatch, Robert M. Death, dying and the biological revolution : our last quest for responsibility, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989)

Weir, Robert. Selective nontreatment of handicapped newborns : moral dilemmas in neonatal medicine, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984)

Weir, Robert (ed.) Ethical issues in death and dying, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977).

Kuhse, Helga. The sanctity-of-life doctrine in medicine : a critique, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987).

Weir, Robert. Abating treatment with critically ill patients : ethical and legal limits to the medical prolongation of life, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989)

Gill, Robin (ed.) Euthanasia and the churches, (London: Cassell, 1988)

Singer, Peter. Practical Ethics 3rd Edition, (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Chapter 7: 'Taking Life: Humans'.

Top of page

M3.3a Suicide and Physician Assisted Suicide

Required Reading

Hill, D.J. (2011). What it is to commit suicide. In: Ratio 24(2): 192-205

Dworkin, Gerald. "Physician-assisted death: the state of the debate." The Oxford handbook of bioethics. Oxford University Press, New York (2008): 375-392.

Further Reading

Tom L. Beauchamp, 'Suicide' in Tom Regan (ed). Matters of life and death : new introductory essays in moral philosophy, 3rd Edition (McGraw-Hill, 1993). 

'Suicide' in Tom L. Beauchamp and Seymour Perlin (eds.), Ethical issues in death and dying, (Prentice Hall, 1978).

Symposium on Physician-Assisted Suicide, Ethics. 109 (April 1999).

David Hume, Of suicide

Campbell, Robert and Collinson, Diane, Ending lives, (Basil Blackwell, 1988), Chapters 1-5.

Batlin and Mayo (eds.), Suicide : the philosophical issues, (Peter Owen, 1981).

Cosculluela, Victor, The ethics of suicide (Garland Publishing, 1995).

Biggar, Nigel, Aiming to kill : the ethics of suicide and euthanasia (Darton, Longman, Todd, 2004).

Battin, Margaret et al (eds.), Physician-assisted suicide, (Routledge, 1998).

Oshana, Mariana, (1998) ‘Personal Autonomy and Society’, Journal of Social Philosophy, 29 (1), pp.81-102.

Top of page

M3.3b Slippery Slopes

Required Reading

Govier, Trudy. 'What’s Wrong with Slippery Slope Arguments', Canadian journal of philosophy., 12/2 (1982): 303-316. Available as an Online Course Reading in the VLE

Tom Beauchamp and James Childress (eds.) The Principles of Biomedical Ethics, (5 th Edition) , Oxford Univeristy Press 1989, [electronic copy available in the library] , pp. 144 – 146 (only the section entitled ‘Acts, Practices and Slippery Slope Problems').  

Further reading

Williams, Bernard. 'Which Slopes are Slippery? ', in Michael Lockwood (ed.) Moral dilemmas in modern medicine, (London: Oxford University Press, 1985).

Walton, Douglas. Slippery slope arguments, (Oxford: Oxford University Press,1992).

Top of page

M3.4a Terminal Sedation and the Doctrine of Double Effect

Required Reading

Battin, Margaret Pabst. Terminal Sedation: Pulling the Sheet Over Our Eyes. Hastings Center report.. S-O 2008. 38(5),  27-30.

Alan Meisel, Antal E. Solyom, Nikola Biller-Andorno, Eliane Pfister, Jean F. Martin, James S. Boal, Patrick T. Smith and Margaret Battin. Letter to the Editor, and Reply. Hastings Center Report, Vol. 39, No. 2 (Mar. - Apr., 2009), pp. 4-8. 

McMahan. J., "Intention Permissibility, Terrorism, and War" Philosophical perspectives. 2009, 345-372.

Further Reading

Phillippa Foot, 'The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of Double Effect', in her Virtues and Vices, (University of California Press, 1978).

McMahan, Jeff (1994). “Revising the Doctrine of Double Effect,” Journal of applied philosophy., 11(2): 201–12.

Quinn, Warren (1989). “Actions, Intentions, and Consequences: The Doctrine of Double Effect,” Philosophy & public affairs, 18(4): 334–351; reprinted in Woodward (ed.), 23–40.

Top of page

M3.4b Intention and Ending Life

Required Reading

Campbell, Robert, (1988) Extraordinary Means and Double Effect. FROM: Campbell, Robert, Ending lives. pp.153-168. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.  OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (HT 19/11/2021) 

Steinbock, B, (1994) The Intentional Termination of Life. FROM: Steinbock, B, Fordham University Press, 2nd ed. pp.120-130. New York: Fordham University Press.  OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (HT 19/11/2021) 

Further Reading

Hart, H.L.A., 'Intention and Punishment', in Punishment and Responsibility, (Oxford, 1968).

Duff, R.A., 'Intentionally Killing the Innocent', Analysis., 34/1 (1973).: 16-19

Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy [electronic resource]., entry on doctrine of double effect.

David Oderberg, Moral theory : a non-consequentialist approach, chapter 3, section 3.1

G.E.M. Anscombe, 'Action, Intention and 'Double Effect'' , pp. 220-225, in Human Life, Action and Ethics: Essays by G.E.M. Anscombe (eds.) Mary Geach and Luke Gormally (Imprint Academic, 2005).

Top of page


Part VII of A Companion to Bioethics, H. Kuhse and P. Singer (eds.) (Malden: Blackwell, 2009).

Blackburn, S. (2016) The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. (Oxford: Oxford University Press) [electronic copy available in the library].

This list was last updated on 27/01/2022