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Erroneous assumptions about deep palliative sedation and euthanasia
  1. Lars Johan Materstvedt
  1. Correspondence to Professor Lars Johan Materstvedt, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway; lars.johan.materstvedt{at}

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In the present journal, I recently wrote an article on several of the differences between deep and continuous palliative sedation (DCPS) and euthanasia.1 In doing so, I also criticised certain views of a paper by Niklas Juth and colleagues.2 They answer back in a just-released article, in which they state that “Materstvedt fail[s] to provide an explanation of why there is a moral difference between DCPS and euthanasia” (italics in original).3

But my article does not address this issue. Rather, it is a descriptive, non-normative ‘diagnosis’ of conceptual and clinical differences between the two. I accordingly stick to a basic divide between science and ethics, namely between what something ‘is’ and whether that something ‘ought’ to be—a logical barrier first introduced by Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711–1776).4

Hence, the following subsequent observation is off the mark: “we argue that Materstvedt misses the point: we agree that there is a …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.