There are several reasons why this debate has surfaced in the1980's. Death is nothing new, it has existed for thousands ofyears. Each culture has developed its own rituals and mechanismsfor dealing with death. These mechanisms serve to provide solace,a sense of continuity, and allow the culture to continue evenas the members of the community cannot. However, our own culturehas experienced many shattering changes that have altered thenature of dying. Suddenly we are forced to rethink the issue ofdeath and we must decide what types of behavior are ethical whensomeone is dying. Before we can examine the debate about the ethicsof dying, we must examine why the debate exists.
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There are differences of opinion concerning the morality of euthanasia; however, I conclude that physician-assisted suicide of the terminally ill is morally acceptable because not only is it permissible to kill terminally ill patients but also the goals...
But what is euthanasia or doctor-assisted suicide.
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Religious people don't argue that we can't kill ourselves, or get others to do it. They know that we can do it because God has given us free will. Their argument is that it would be wrong for us to do so.
Do-it-yourself animal euthanasia - Dog-Owned Life
Utilitarianism was most completely articulated by John StuartMill in On Liberty. It operates from the general rule thatif any action increases overall good, then it is right. The corollaryto this is that if any proposed direct moral rule, when generallyacted from, increases overall good, then it is a correct directmoral rule (Rosen, p. 45-52). In the context of euthanasia, wemust examine the practice to determine if it increases the overallgood in order to determine if it is ethical.
Her later years, as they are for many of us, had not been kind
Ethical egoism was first propounded in modern times by ThomasHobbes in Leviathan. It operates from the general rulethat if any action increases my own good, then it is right. Hobbesargued that we cannot help but act in our own self-interest, andtherefore, such actions are ethical (Rosen, 1990, p. 37-44). Ethicalegoism in the context of euthanasia would contend that if a personwants or does not want to end their life using euthanasia, thisdesire is motivated by a need for self benefit, and is thereforean ethical action.
RESEARCH LITERATURE: DEATH & DYING - EUTHANASIA
At the individual level, the person must make a decision whetheror not to end their life. The normative ethical theories of ethicalegoism and utilitarianism illustrate the value conflict and theethical dilemma involved. Egoism may lead one to want to die,as the individual may believe that based on their self-interestand to their personal benefit, it would be better to die. Theindividual may be experiencing a great deal of pain, loss of bodilyfunctions, and faced with spending the remainder of their lifeas an invalid. On the other hand, egoism may lead one to wantto live under conditions that might dictate otherwise. A personmight argue that all available medical technology ought to bebrought to bear in the preservation of their life.
RESEARCH LITERATURE: DEATH & DYING This is a large file
One way of examining values and ethics to see if they are worthwhileis through the use of normative ethical theories. By examininga problem or particular policy through the lens of a normativeethical theory, we can determine if the system needs changingor if a particular policy option is an ethical one. There areseveral normative ethical theories that have been proposed byphilosophers. I will examine ethical egoism, utilitarianism, andrights theory; and then use these theories in order to analyzethe problem of euthanasia. This might give us a basis for determiningwhether or not the practice of euthanasia is ethical.