Lawyer: In a risky surgical procedure that is performed only with the patient's informed consent, doctors intentional...

Justin on July 14, 2019

Why is D a better answer than B?

Please explain.

2 Replies

Ravi on July 15, 2019


Happy to help. Let's look at (B) and (D).

(B) says, "If a medical procedure is known to carry a very high risk
of causing the patient’s death, then only if the patient does die can
the doctors be guilty of manslaughter."

(B) is about what's required in order to be found guilty of
manslaughter, as the term "only if" introduces the concept that the
patient's death is required in order to be guilty of manslaughter.
However, what we want to know is what is sufficient to prove that
someone is guilty of manslaughter, not what is necessary for it. Thus,
we can get rid of (B).

(D) says, "Deliberately bringing about the cessation of a person’s
life functions is manslaughter if and only if the cessation is

(D) would strengthen the argument a lot because it states that if
someone deliberately stops a person's life functions and if the
stopping is permanent, then it classifies as manslaughter. The phrase
"if and only if" signifies that this is a biconditional relationship,
so this is about both what's necessary to be manslaughter as well as
what's sufficient to make something be classified as manslaughter.
We're concerned with what's sufficient to make something manslaughter,
and (D) provides us with what is sufficient (if someone deliberately
stops a person's life and the stopping is permanent), so this is the
correct answer choice.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions!

on January 6 at 10:30PM

Why are we concerned with what is sufficient and how can we tell if we are looking for a sufficient condition vs. a necessary condition on a principle question?