[ExI] Vegetative patient free of pain

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 18 23:05:16 UTC 2012

On Saturday, November 17, 2012 10:16 AM Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 17 November 2012 01:05, Dan <dan_ust at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> While I'm not against individuals having a right to die, there's a
>> couple of problems here. I'd want to make sure the technique was reliable
>> -- that the person really wanted to die as opposed to misreading some scan
>> and then causing an irreversible choice to be made.
> Actually, one wonders what degree of certainty we should require, given that
> currently choice is made by people other than patients in vegetative (and,
> supposedly, entirely unconscious) state. So, let us say that the technology
> could be used to argue that a given patient does NOT want to die, even though
> we are not 100% sure of the message.

I would err on the side of the message be right when it's of the "I want to live" type and possibly mistaken when it's the opposite. That seems the reasonable position to take, no? I think were this to become the norm, procedures would likely evolve to make sure, as much as practicable, that the death choice wasn't a mistake.

> Having said that, I expect that the technology will become an argument
> for pro-life partisans to the effect that people responding in any way should
> not be allowed to die in any case ("hey, if they want to die they are
> conscious, so this is euthanasia, bla-bla).

Well, there's a different argument there. If someone believes suicide is not to be permitted, then, yeah, it doesn't matter what the patient wants. But I was talking about when one doesn't hold that view.

Also, what do you mean by "euthanasia"? The term is often used to mean when the patient makes the request. In this case, of course, the problem is if the patient has made the request (the reliability). If it's someone else making it, then it's another kettle of fish.

> Strangely enough, while I have always thought transhumanism being about
> self-determination,

Same here, which is always surprises me that many if not most self-identified transhumanists seem to want to coerce other people, as in embracing various forms of statism. (For me, when you initiate coercion against someone, you're basically ending their self-determination -- i.e., you're using force to get the outcome you desire and which, for obvious reasons, they don't.) I've chalked this up to two things: 1) as the movement has grown it more reflects the kinds of political and moral beliefs the wider culture holds (and most people in our various cultures have nothing against use force,  even if they do so in their everyday lives, to resolve all kinds of social problems, real or imaginary) and 2) there is no philosophical, doctrinal, or ideological determinism (in other words, people tend to mix and match views rather than form a consistent system of them).

> I realised from posts on the Longevity Party FB group that some of us actually
> considers life-extension not in the light of lifespan-extension, but in the light
> of life allegedly being something good per se, to the point of having to be
> promoted, if not actively forced, on those who might prefer otherwise. 

Yeah, that kind of chimes in with my above points.



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