Intended for healthcare professionals

Choice Gp

Insight through argument

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 29 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:a

Intense argument may be a route to understanding. Socrates, Marx (certainly Karl, and, for all I know, Groucho), and English law think it is. French law disagrees. Readers can make up their own minds as intellectual pugilists go head to head on two important issues: whether we should accept the Roman Catholic doctrine of “double effect”—that it is all right to kill patients if death is a side effect of an intention to relieve suffering; and what explains the “French paradox” whereby the French have unhealthy lifestyles yet low rates of heart disease. …

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