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Can Euthanasia Be Justified Morally? Essay

1152 words - 5 pages

Is the choice of individuals to end their lives dependent on anyone else but themselves? Or should a jury or the state truly have the omnipotent voice in such a personal endeavour?

Ethics can be elucidated as a set of moral principles, thusly the rules of conduct perceived by one or a society to be the right or wrong, the good or bad (as religiously termed evil). Several philosophers throughout history have attempted to define the term "morality" in various ways. Aristotle posits that the highest good is always an end and not the means, whilst Hobbes and Locke refute this concept, stating that what is essentially deemed good is all relative to the desires of the agent (the individual or entity) (Macintyre 1996: 57-157). The universally agreed meaning of morality might never be achieved but we can all consent to the "good" being apparent in all that is presumed to be moral. Euthanasia is the medical process of ending the life of a terminally ill insofar as to relieve their suffering. The medical utilization of euthanasia is an issue that has been overly discussed and debated, yet the general consensus of the goodness in its practice remains elusive. Arguments such as the defy of the will of God and the desecration of life is contended against its usage, whilst others appeal that it is the right of an individual to choose (essentially an individuals freewill). This article will examine two cases of biomedical euthanasia in recent years and attempt to achieve some manner of justification through the moral frameworks of Immanuel Kant's Deontological and Friedrich Hegel's Recognition. Is the choice of individuals to end their lives dependent on anyone else but themselves? Should a jury or the state truly have the omnipotent voice in such a personal endeavour?

In 1992, Dr Cox directly disobeyed the law and assented to Mrs Boye (then 70 years old), after her continuous plea for voluntary euthanasia. She was so painfully ill that she screamed in agony whenever touched, thusly Dr Cox injected her with potassium chloride to give Mrs Boye a semblance of a peaceful but he was later suspended and criminalised (Euthanasia, 2000). Sue Rodrigues, a mother (in her early thirties), painfully and gradually died of Lou Gehrig's disease. She lived with the knowledge that her muscles will slowly waste away for seven years while awake and conscious, until she choked to death. Even though she had begged the courts to allow her doctor to assist her in choosing her own moment of death but was refused, until february 1994 when the doctor secretly broke the law to help her die (ibid). These are a few but some of the many countless cases of the law's failure to consent to euthanasia, allowing patients to suffer on the basis of what it deems to be moral.

Kantian's Deontological will state that good will is good, thusly the focus is then upon the agent's will (the intention and reason for the agent's action is then questioned, rather than the actual deed itself)...

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