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Dementia and advance directives: some empirical and normative concerns

Abstract

The authors of the paper ‘Advance euthanasia directives: a controversial case and its ethical implications’ articulate concerns and reasons with regard to the conduct of euthanasia in persons with dementia based on advance directives. While we agree on the conclusion that there needs to be more attention for such directives in the preparation phase, we disagree with the reasons provided by the authors to support their conclusions. We will outline two concerns with their reasoning by drawing on empirical research and by providing reasons that contradict their assumptions about competence of people with dementia and the (un)importance of happiness in reasoning about advance directives of people with dementia. We will draw attention to the important normative questions that have been overstepped in their paper, and we will outline why further research is required.

  • dementia
  • euthanasia
  • living wills/advance directives
  • ethics
  • competence/incompetence
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