A Right to Die?: The Dax Cowart Case An Ethical Case Study on CD-Rom, 1st Edition (CD-ROM) book cover

A Right to Die?

The Dax Cowart Case An Ethical Case Study on CD-Rom, 1st Edition

By David Anderson, Robert Cavalier, Preston Covey


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CD-ROM: 9780415917537
pub: 1996-06-13
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The fascinating and moving case of Dax Cowart is one of the best known and most significant in applied ethics, highlighting the ethical and medical dilemmas over an individual's right to die.

As a young man, Dax Cowart was seriously injured and left with greatly reduced quality of life as a result of a car accident in Texas. Dax's struggle to die and the arguments surrounding the decisions of those involved made him a cause celebré in the Right to Die movement.

This ground-breaking CD-ROM, developed in association with Carnegie Mellon University, presents this important case in detail. The user sees and hears Dax himself and those surrounding him and is forced to participate in the difficult decisions being made. The user is asked to make brief statements justifying these decisions, which can be reviewed at the end of the session. By participating in this genuinely interactive process, students develop, practice and defend their ethical analysis and decision-making using a 'real world' case study.

Bringing together reference material, pedagogical text, video and sound, The Right to Die on CD-ROM is a major resource across several academic disciplines including philosophy, medical ethics and law. Professional practitioners will also find this CD-ROM essential for reviewing and honing their analytical skills and libraries, societies, pressure groups and other concerned institutions will require copies for reference use.

The software allows the user to:

* Install on either a Macintosh or Windows machine

* Save and print out their own notes and statements

* Review the decisions and statements made during a session

* Access video clips without running through the whole program


1. Programme Introduction

Introduces the programme and introduces The Basic Question. In the latter, the user is asked to take on an initial view of Dax Cowart's request to die based on a summary of the case.

2. Guided Inquiries

The user is guided through the case and its context, reading evidence, listening to the arguments put forward and watching video footage. The user is asked to make ethical decisions and the evidence and text presented subsequently changes appropriately, demonstrating the full impact of decisions taken. The user can at any time seek help on the philosophical thinking involved behind the decision at hand using the commentary button. The last section of the Guided Inquiries - Final Position - leaves the user to make the final judgement. The programme finishes with an audio-visual segment that once again challenges the user to reflect on their position.

3. The Archives

This section allows a review of the case material - including audio-visual elements - independently from the case narrative. Additional information regarding the case chronology and other famous 'right to die' cases are included.

* Available in a basic single-user version or a multi-user version. The multi-user version allows the purchase of multiple copies at a substantial discount on the single-user price for use in the classroom and project work in libraries and computing centres

Teacher's Guide

Provided with the multi-user version, this book not only guides the instructor through the programme but also suggests possible uses of the CD-ROM in the classroom with specific lesson plans and bibliographies.

* For more information on this title - including sample black and white Quicktime movies from the CD - visit our Right to Die site at:

http://www.routledge.com:9966/routledge/indepth/dax/main.htm l

For further information - including details on the multi-user option - email info.dax@routledge.com


'Lessons from the burning man … A Right to Die? is an interactive multimedia presentation of the Dax Cowart case which offers yet another way of studying an applied ethics case … A session with this CD-ROM is not quite like interacting with the real participants or knowledgeable actors playing the participants but that is what it sets out to simulate.' - - The Times Higher Education Supplement

'… A Right to Die? is a device for facing its users both with the evidence and the implications of their own decisions … The core of the body of evidence comprises video clips, mostly of interviews with principles in the case. They can be viewed without guidance, and it is in a comparision with the "guided" mode that the remarkable qualities of this CD-ROM become apparent … Much is made of the way in which users can take different paths through CD-ROMs, yet the consequences are usually no more significant than those of the order in which one leafs through a book. Here, the path taken really does transform the meaning.' - - Marek Kohn, The Independent on Sunday

'… Without spoiling the ending, suffice to say this is an extraordinary, unforgettable, often harrowing yet intriguing experience. As a project in ethical reasoning, it's a clever use of CD-ROM technology (for example, it would lose much of its power as a traditional book).' - - The Irish Times (Dublin)

'The press release for this title hails it as a "groundbreaking CD-ROM that used the genuinely interactive process offered by the medium to help students explore a vitally important issue in applied ethics and philosophical debate". This is probably one of the few CD-ROMs where I would agree with a statement like this … Its value comes completely in the content, which at times can be rather harrowing and emotive … The CD-ROM presents these arguments in a compelling program which gives the user all the facts that the doctors and Dax's relatives would have faced at the time … In its main market, as a resource for students of applied ethics, moral philosophy and medical ethics, it will find a welcome home.' - The Multimedia Bookseller

'This is an extraordinary, unforgettable, often harrowing yet intriguing experience … a clever use of CD-Rom technology.' - The Irish Times

'I have seen many CD-ROMs, but none has given me such pause for thought as this one. A Right to Die: The Dax Cowart Case puts the user at the heart of an ethical dilemma … It is well worth the effort, as Right to Die is that most rare of artefacts - a CD-ROM that makes you think. The authors deserve full credit for their innovative and bold use of the medium; they have created something which is both challenging and moving.' - Rhys Grossman, Wired

'The program provides a very rich learning resource … all in all this is an extremely useful adjunct to the teaching of medical ethics.' - CITCM Update

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