Volume 32, Issue 2, Fall 2018
Thinking Epistemically about Gender and Physician Assisted Death
Feminists continue to express concerns over the legalization of physician-assisted death (PAD). Some worry that women are more likely than men to request PAD due to societal stereotypes and the pressures put on women to be self-sacrificing. Others worry that women will have their requests ignored more often than men because women’s voices are traditionally silenced or disregarded in western culture. Rather than join in the above argument of speculating which way women may be marginalized, I accept PAD as potentially dangerous and offer a solution in order to avoid the risks of injustice associated with PAD. I reframe the concerns as epistemological worries, and ultimately, I turn to Benjamin McMyler’s virtue epistemology as a way to avoid testimonial injustice in requests for life hastening medication, suggesting that the injustice comes from a narrow and individualistic perception of knowledge, and injustice can be avoided if we understand testimonial knowledge to be both cognitive and social.