Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

Ethical Issues Of Euthanasia From Different Perspectives Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 1526 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

Reference this

There are two things that are certain in this life, death and taxes. Escaping the burden of taxes is impossible; however, terminality ill patients have options to escape the pain and suffering of their inevitable demise. Many feel dying with dignity is just as important as living with it, and Dr. Jack Kevorkian is one of the most publicly recognized faces of euthanasia, villain to some hero to others.

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Essay Writing Service

Kevorkian was born in Michigan to Armenian immigrants, Levan and Sepastia, whom escaped the Armenian genocide massacres of WWI. He witnessed his mothers excruciating battle with cancer, but it wasn’t until1956, when he conducted research on patient’s eyes as they died. He discovered the blood vessels in the cornea contacted to the point that they became invisible once the heart stopped beating. His research triggered an obsession with death that landed him a hefty prison sentence and the nickname, “Doctor Death”. {SITE!!!!!!!) (cite?)

In 1987, Kevorkian began advertising himself as a consultant for “death Counseling” in a Detroit newspaper. He lost his medical license in 1991. According to his attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, Kevorkian assisted in 130 deaths of terminally ill patients, each of which were technically categorized as suicides, since the final action that terminated life was executed by the patients themselves. During this time Jack was tried and acquitted numerous times, but never formally charged until November 22, 1998, when he willing released a video of Thomas Youk’s euthanasia on 60 Minutes, where he played an active role by administering a lethal injection into Youk causing his death.

“On March 26, 1999 the infamous doctor was charged with second degree murder and the delivery of a controlled substance.” (DIRECT QOUTE) He was found guilty of second degree homicide and sentenced ten to twenty five years of incarceration. After eight years of prison and a terminally terminal illness of his own, Hepatitis C, later he was paroled on June 1, 2007. Kevorkian, now a free man, no longer assists in suicides; he has taken a Utilitarian approach in trying to legalize it. (explain what Kevorkian’s utilitarian approach is?)

I will be examining the ethical issues of euthanasia through Utilitarianism, Kantian/Deontological, and religious perspectives, while exploring arguments of advocacy and expulsion of each principal. (do you mean principle?)

There are four forms of euthanasia, passive, active, self deliverance, and assisted suicides, each of which weighs differently on a moral and legal spectrum. Passive euthanasia common only known as “pulling the plug” deals with the disconnection of life support by removing a breathing or feeding tube. This type of euthanasia is widely accepted and ethical or legal tape is normally cut by a· living will. Active euthanasia, what Kevorkian was ultimately sentenced for, is death brought on by a physician through lethal injection or administration of fatal gasses. Assisted suicide deals with a terminally ill person acquiring lethal drugs from another party, usually a physician, and then injecting them to induce death. It is legal for the one voluntarily consuming the dose, (sure, why not?) but felony charges can occur for the party that makes the substances available. “About half the states of America have a specific law forbidding assistance in suicide, and the other half could prosecute under general homicide statues.” ( Humpry) Humphrey In 1944 citizens of the State of Oregon voted in favor to legalize physician-assisted suicide, soon after the neighboring State of Washington adopted the law. The Netherlands were early adopter to legalize assisted suicide. Swiss law has permitted it since 1940, and in 2002, the Dutch officially permitted voluntary euthanasia. (Humphery) Humphrey Self deliverance is taking one’s life. It does not involve a second party, however, in Derek Humphrey’s book, Final Exit; he recommends a loved one be present.

Lisa, here is an article that may be useful to you: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/08/nyregion/08litchfield.html

Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are the fathers of Utilitarianism, an empiricist tradition in philosophy. They claim it is only through observation and experience we can know what is good. Utility is only concerned with the end result, so the motive and action is irrelevant. Mill would argue that if you saved a man from drowning because you thought you would receive a monetary reward holds the same moral value if you saved a man because you thought it was the right thing to do. The end result in both scenarios was a man being saved, how and why he was rescued holds no value. Utilitarianism calculates costs and benefits. According to utilitarianism, a moral rule should be designed to produce the greatest number of happiness for the greatest number of people. It only deals with pleasure and pain and uses a calculation to determine what a moral rule is is.

There are two types of utilitarianism, act and rule. Act utility looks at the consequences of each separate action. Critiques of act utility are concerned that unsavory behavior like lying, stealing, cheating, and even murder could be justified if it produced the greatest good for the greatest number, so rule utility was developed to correct the problem. It considers consequences of some practical rule. For example, if lying would produce the maximum happiness for the maximum people in one scenario it still wouldn’t be right because in time it would break down the reason to truth. A general rule of thumb is helpful in rule utility. (Text Book)

Find Out How UKEssays.com Can Help You!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services

The major problem with rule utilitarian’s and euthanasia is the rule that it is always wrong to kill an innocent human being. (Singer) Act utility needs only to be assured that euthanasia will have the best consequence in every instance in which it applies. Every case involving terminally ill patients has different circumstances, and should be properly calculated taking all factors into account. Thomas Youk, a patient of Kevorkian, was fifty two, and suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In the final stages of ALS he sought refuge from Dr. Death. The pain he endured might have been at a negative ten. The pain and progression of the disease made it impossible for him to enjoy the activities that made his life pleasurable, so no intellectual or physical pleasures could balance his physical pain. Youk could have continued to suffer pain at a negative ten, and since his illness would have gotten progressively worse his pain would have increased over time. He chooses assisted suicide, which created a value of zero, thus creating maximum happiness. (Hauser)

Utilitarianism deals with the total human happiness, so Youk’s friends, family, and society at large, must play a role in the equation. Watch any species in pain or suffering, especially your loved ones, is the most traumatic experience one will ever go through, unless you’re a sociopath. Youk’s family was spared the pain of watching him suffer. It sounds callous, but hospital resources were available to other patients and his body could now be donated to science to help find cures for diseases like ALS. According to act utilitarian’s, Youks choice of euthanasia maximized pleasure all involved and therefore was a moral choice.

An argument against euthanasia from a utility perspective could be a cure for an individual’s illness could be discovered. “Mill acknowledges that we cannot always know with certainty the outcome of our actions, and thus we must instead look at the probability of each potential outcome.” (Direct Quote) A final argument from opponents to euthanasia argue that utilitarianism is a flawed philosophy, and, “life has absolute and intrinsic worth, and therefore it cannot be terminated in any circumstance for any reason.” (Direct quote) Prisons are filled with people on death row and it is well within our rights to kill a person in self-defense, so there is no merit to this argument, which stems from a religious point of view.

Lisa, this is a good start. You will want to work with other than utilitarianism but also with other ethical theories and other situations than Dr. K & his patient. I’ve linked to an article elsewhere in your paper that you might read to see a different approach to assisted suicide. In this case you should be able to weave in a discussion of Kant’s moral theory on respect, autonomy, etc. With any of these forms of assisted suicides you can also argue from a John Rawls’ notion of “justice”-is it fair for someone to suffer excruciating pain needlessly because no one will help him end his life?

So basically, look at different scenarios of assisted suicide; apply several different ethical theories and conclude whether you are for or against the practice and under which conditions. Let me know if you have any questions.



Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: