Me and My Body: The Relevance of the Distinction for the Difference between Withdrawing Life Support and Euthanasia



In this paper, I discuss David Shaw's claim that the body of a terminally ill person can be conceived as a kind of life support, akin to an artificial ventilator. I claim that this position rests upon an untenable dualism between the mind and the body. Given that dualism continues to be attractive to some thinkers, I attempt to diagnose the reasons why it continues to be attractive, as well as to demonstrate its incoherence, drawing on some recent work in the philosophy of psychology. I conclude that, if my criticisms are sound, Shaw's attempt to deny the distinction between withdrawal and euthanasia fails.