Autonomy, Responsibility, and Health Care. Critical by Bogdan Olaru

By Bogdan Olaru

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45 But nature, too, is more than an object for recognition and the fulfillment of human interests. Through evolution, humans relate to all other living beings, both from a genetic and psychological point of view. Therefore, they can, at least to a certain degree, communicate with them. As Max Scheler argues, humans are the most complex living beings on this planet. 46 Though these beings have no responsibility for us, humans should feel responsible for them. To ignore this capacity does not only disturb nature; it implies a deficiency in personal identity and interpersonal relations, too.

The existential meaning of suffering and death influences therefore the ethical orientation of an individual and the society as a whole fundamentally. Life has now an intrinsic value and must not be thrown away; it ought to be lived with respect and responsibility. Though ‘Grenzerfahrungen’ are painful, they open the horizon for fundamental ethical values which transcend utilitarian principles. Therefore, society should not legalize any form of active euthanasia. It should remain the very special solution for those patients which really cannot bear their suffering any longer.

First, they can be explained from a purely biomedical point of view, as automatic reflex movements. From this perspective, which leans heavily upon a Cartesian, mechanistic view of the human body, it is thought that these defensive movements must be considered as being totally separated from expressions of person or the self. ” 40 W. Dekkers, 2004, p. 119: “In this regard, another comparison forces itself upon us; namely, that between the person with severe dementia, for whom death is not far away, and the severely handicapped newborn, who fights for life.

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