Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Substituted Judgment

This past week, my favorite radio show, This American Life, focused on the theme of "home alone," with stories about people living alone (episode here). The first of three segments considered people who lived alone and then died alone, with most of the segment taken up with the saga of an elderly woman named Mary Ann. Lying on death's door in the hospital, Mary Ann calls the one human being she barely knows---the woman who delivers her prescriptions from the pharmacy---to plead that she feed her two dogs, whom Mary Ann has left tied up in her home. Mary Ann tells the woman that she will reimburse her for the costs, saying the dogs are all she has. Days later, Mary Ann dies. Emily, the social worker whose job it is to piece together Mary Ann's life sufficiently to arrange a burial and the disposal of her estate, arrives at the house and the very first thing Emily does is to call animal control to take away the dogs, presumably to a municipal shelter where they almost certainly will be euthanized within days if not hours. Emily spends the balance of the Act vainly searching for a person with whom Mary Ann connected, never seeming to notice that she, Emily, had essentially killed the only two living beings with whom there was a close connection. Emily eventually locates relatives willing to take over the funeral arrangements and the disposal of the estate, but these relatives were not in any way close with Mary Ann.

We also learn that Mary Ann had at least $6,000 to her name. No doubt this would have been enough money to pay for the care and feeding of Mary Ann's dogs for a much longer time than they were kept alive at animal control, with the possibility that the dogs would be adopted. With nothing to go on but Mary Ann's statement that these dogs were all she had, and no close relatives or friends in the picture, wouldn't that have been the obvious use to put her money, at least if the point of Emily's job is to discern the deceased's wishes? And if so, why didn't this possibility even cross Emily's mind, or for that matter, the minds of This American Life's producers?

The answer, I think, sheds light on an always-fraught position in the law: that of surrogate decision maker. Emily's job was not so different from the job of those people who must make a substitute judgment for those who are no longer (or perhaps never were) competent to make the judgment for themselves. Most commonly, these judgments concern end-of-life matters. Much of the case law and academic literature critical of substituted judgments questions the ability of the person being asked to make such a judgment to consider the interests of the person affected rather than his or her own interests. Thus, critics note, it is tempting to think that the relative in a persistent vegetative state would want to be disconnected from life support if that course would mean that the surrogate decision maker inherits a larger estate or even just gets to move on with life.

These are legitimate worries, but Mary Ann's story points to another risk. Emily had no personal stake in what was to become of Mary Ann or her possessions. Yet I believe she nonetheless asked the wrong question. She should have asked, "what would Mary Ann have wanted," to which the answer pretty clearly would have been to have her dogs looked after. Instead, I suspect that Emily asked "what would I have wanted if I were Mary Ann?" Now, in an important sense, all we can ever ask about another person's wishes and feelings---especially a stranger's wishes and feelings---is "what would those wishes and feelings feel like if I had them?" This is perhaps the main point of Thomas Nagel's wonderful essay What is it Like to Be a Bat? We can't really know what it is like for a bat to be a bat. The closest we can come is to imagine what it would be like for a person to be a bat. And, Nagel says and I agree, the same is true between people. Emily can't know what Mary Ann would have wanted. She can only know what she, Emily, would want if she were Maryann. That said, surely one person can do better than Emily did in approximating the wishes and feelings of another. Sure, Emily can't eliminate her Emily-ness in her effort to imagine herself as Mary Ann. But she could have tried a lot harder.

Posted by Mike Dorf

11 comments:

Paul said...

I certainly agree with idea that Emily should have done a better job effectuating what are likely to be Mary Ann's wishes.

That said, the presumption that the animals were killed within hours is almost certainly not correct. Most states have laws that require the animals be kept for a minimum number of days. In California, that minimum number is five days (it was three, but one of the Governator's acts was to extend this to five).

There should probably not be an assumption that the dogs ended up killed as opposed to having been adopted.

Another, unmentioned, problem with Emily's actions - one that should have worked in the animals' favor for once - is that they are property, and thus presumably part of the estate over which Emily was responsible. From a property perspective, why are Emily's actions toward the animals acceptable? Clearly she would have been derelict in her duties if she had opened up her apartment to the public and simply given away the property within.

A final note, which is not really relevant to the legal analysis post-fact, but none the less an important lesson, is that of the importance of after-death preparations. Mary Ann, of course, could have prevented all of this from happening if she had simply had a proper will in place creating a trust for the animals with whatever property she had remaining.

路傑 said...

免費A片, ut聊天室, AV女優, 美女視訊, 免費成人影片, 成人論壇, 情色交友, 免費AV, 線上a片, 日本美女寫真集, 同志聊天室, 聊天室交友, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 色情網站, 辣妹視訊, 美女交友, 微風成人區, 色美媚部落格, 色情影片, 成人影片, 成人網站, 免費A片, 上班族聊天室, A片,H漫, 18成人, a漫, av dvd, 一夜情聊天室, 微風成人, 成人圖片, 成人漫畫, 情色網, 日本A片, 免費A片下載, 性愛, 成人交友, 嘟嘟成人網, 嘟嘟成人網, 成人貼圖, 成人電影, 成人, 中部人聊天室, 080中部人聊天室, 成人貼圖, 成人小說, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 免費成人影片, 成人遊戲, 微風成人, 愛情公寓, 成人電影, A片, 情色, 情色貼圖, 情色文學, 做愛, 成人遊戲, 成人影城, 色情聊天室, 色情小說, 一葉情貼圖片區, 情色小說, 色情, 寄情築園小遊戲, 色情遊戲, 成人網站, 麗的色遊戲, 色情網站, 成人論壇, 情色視訊, 情色電影, aio交友愛情館, 言情小說, 愛情小說, 色情A片, 情色論壇, 自拍, 癡漢, , 俱樂部, 豆豆聊天室, 聊天室, 色情影片, 視訊聊天室, 免費視訊聊天, 免費視訊, 視訊交友90739 情人視訊網影音視訊聊天室 免費視訊聊天室 視訊聊天 視訊交友 美女視訊 視訊美女 視訊 免費視訊 免費視訊聊天 視訊聊天室 辣妹視訊 一夜情 色情a片 aio交友愛情館 情色電影 情色視訊 色情遊戲 色情 情色小說 一葉情貼圖片區 色情小說 色情聊天室 情色交友 成人論壇 成人網站 色情網站 情色論壇 小高聊天室 女同志聊天室 6K聊天室 080苗栗人聊天室 080聊天室 聊天室尋夢園 UT男同志聊天室 男同志聊天室 尋夢園聊天室 UT聊天室 聊天室 豆豆聊天室 A片 成人電影 成人貼圖 嘟嘟成人網 美女交友 本土自拍 成人交友 成人影片http://ssff01.3b8mm.com/

xw said...

It is also can not live without eve isk. Here, for the violence or robbery had been friends apologize in the eve online isk. I request members are on the local increase or decrease in the number of judgments quickly in buy isk. The game has a good excellence is that the cheap eve isk. The other side rather than back into the space station is POS, and buy eve online isk.

. said...

酒店喝酒,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,制服店,便服店,鋼琴酒吧,兼差,酒店兼差,酒店打工,伴唱小姐,暑假打工,酒店上班,日式酒店,舞廳,ktv酒店,酒店,酒店公關,酒店小姐,理容院,日領,龍亨,學生兼差,酒店兼差,酒店上班,酒店打工,禮服酒店,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,經紀 彩色爆米花,經紀人 彩色爆米花,酒店傳播,酒店經紀 彩色爆米花,爆米花,童裝,童裝拍賣,童裝大盤,童裝寄賣,童裝批貨,酒店,酒店,童裝切貨,酒店,GAP童裝,酒店,酒店 ,禮服店 , 酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,招待所,

. said...

酒店喝酒,禮服店,酒店小姐,制服店,便服店,鋼琴酒吧,兼差,酒店兼差,酒店打工,伴唱小姐,暑假打工,酒店上班,日式酒店,ktv酒店,酒店,酒店公關,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,酒店上班,酒店打工,禮服酒店,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,經紀 彩色爆米花,經紀人 彩色爆米花,酒店傳播,酒店經紀 彩色爆米花,爆米花,童裝,童裝拍賣,童裝大盤,童裝寄賣,童裝批貨,酒店,酒店,童裝切貨,酒店,GAP童裝,酒店,酒店 ,禮服店 , 酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,招待所,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店上班,暑假打工,酒店公關,酒店兼職,酒店經紀

wsty said...

www.eshooes.com .
www.pumafr.com.
www.myshoess.com.
[url=http://www.pumafr.com]puma shoes[/url]
[url=http://www.eshooes.com]chaussures puma[/url]
[url=http://www.myshoess.com]nike air max ltd[/url]

酒店經紀ㄚ君姐姐 said...

,,姐.,便服/,,

freefun0616 said...

酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店經紀, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店工作, 專業酒店經紀, 合法酒店經紀, 酒店暑假打工, 酒店寒假打工, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店工作, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店經紀, 專業酒店經紀, 合法酒店經紀, 酒店暑假打工, 酒店寒假打工, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店工作, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店經紀,,

Kitty said...

やらしい人妻出合い ♪ SEX好き奥さん出会い掲示板 ♪ セフレ主婦とやれる出会い系 ♪ 愛人人妻完全無料出会い ♪ エッチな若妻完全無料出会い ♪ セフレ希望主婦即ハメ出会い ♪ セフレ募集中主婦出会いBBS ♪ SM好き40代出逢い系 ♪ ヤリマン主婦即ハメ出会い ♪ 淫乱若妻出合い ♪ やらしい主婦出会い掲示板 ♪ やらしい若妻完全無料出会い ♪ セフレ募集中若妻無料出会い ♪ セフレ人妻出合い ♪ SEX好き30代出会いサイト ♪ やらしい40代と出会い ♪ 愛人エロ妻出会いサイト ♪ セフレ募集エロ妻出会い掲示板 ♪ 浮気希望40代完全無料出会い ♪ 愛人40代出会いサイト ♪ 

dte said...

Pray for powers equal to your tasks.Then the doing of work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracleRunescape Gold, Fear not that the life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning rs gold, At twenty years of age, the will reigns; Runescape Gold at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment. What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know.It's what we know for sure that just ain't so.

dte said...

It's a serious question D3 Power Leveling and one you're likely not asked all that often Diablo iii Power Leveling, successful in each endeavor D3 PowerLeveling, take a look at what you do each day and ask yourself "why am I doing this?"