Critique of Cohen and Benjamin's Argument on Alcoholism

919 Words Jan 28th, 2018 4 Pages
They argue that alcoholism is a disease and not a choice, and end stage liver damage requiring transplantation is a consequence of this disease. Furthermore, they argue that even if alcoholism is a choice, medicine should not incorporate moral judgments in the considerations of treatment decisions for the patient. They support this reasoning through three arguments: 1) it is impractical and almost impossible to make distinctions on morality, 2) the voluntariness condition to establish responsibility cannot be met, and 3) the implications and consequences of such system would be undesirable. Although these arguments are logical, they overlook certain details that question their applicability in liver transplantation cases.
Cohen and Benjamin argue that to exclude patients from liver transplantation based on past history of alcoholism would be to exclude based on evaluation of moral character. They assert that whether a transplantation candidate is “an abusive parent or a dutiful daughter” or “cheat[s] on their income taxes or their spouses” would then also have to be considered. Therefore, this system is impractical and impossible due to extensive and intrusive investigation necessary to gather information on a patient’s moral behavior. Assessment of moral character is further problematic because fair and…
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