The ethics of death policies

Authored by: Søren Holm

The Routledge Handbook of Ethics and Public Policy

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138201279
eBook ISBN: 9781315461731
Adobe ISBN:


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States formulate ‘death policies’ that determine which citizens will die, and when deaths caused by the state or its citizens are justified. Some death policies directly determine when it is legal to kill another human being. Most are, however, indirect. They do not specify who can be killed directly, but they determine who will die and who will live. Many resource allocation and environmental policies allocate risks of death in this way. This chapter analyses the ethical issues raised by death policies. Should death be given particular weight in policy-making, and if so what are the implications for policy-making about death policies?

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