Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God and are therefore of intrinsic worth or value, beyond all prices. Almost all Christian pro-life arguments spring from the fountain of personal dignity. Euthanasia would make moral sense only if it were possible to say, morally, that this dignity had vanished. To commit euthanasia is to act with the specific intention that somebody should be nobody. This is the fundamental error of all immorality in human relations. To commit euthanasia is to fail to see the intrinsic worth or dignity of the person. The judgement that what has worth, intrinsically, somehow does not have worth, is both logically and morally wrong. The ethics of euthanasia is based on dualistic anthropology and wrong moral presuppositions underlying the defence of euthanasia, namely, proportionalism and consequentialism. The basic claim of proponents of the ethics of euthanasia is that human persons are consciously experiencing subjects whose dignity consists of their ability to made choices and to determine their own lives. Bodily life, according to them, is a condition for personal life because without bodily life one cannot be a consciously experiencing subject. It means that bodily life is distinct from personal life. Thus, the body and bodily life are instrumental goods, goods for the person, not goods of the person. It thus follows that there can be such a thing as a life not worth living--one can judge that bodily life itself is useless or burdensome, and when it is, the person, i.e., the consciously experiencing subject, is at liberty to free himself of this useless burden. Today a key in fighting euthanasia and assisted suicide is better care for the sick and dying. The dignity of the sick cannot be erased by illness and suffering. Such procedures are not private decisions; they affect the whole society. Death with dignity, in the end, is the realisation that human beings are also spiritual beings. We have to promote the way of caring for the dying in which mercy is extended to the patients without inducing death.
Philippa Foot wrote many articles treating issues in metaethics, moralpsychology, and applied ethics, as well as one monograph on moralphilosophy. Throughout her career, she defended the objectivity ofmorality against various forms of noncognitivism and tangled withissues of moral motivation, notoriously changing her mind aboutwhether moral judgments necessarily provide rational agents withreasons for action. To the wider world, and perhaps especially toundergraduate philosophy students, she is best known for inventing theTrolley Problem, which raises the question of why it seems permissibleto steer a trolley aimed at five people toward one person while itseems impermissible to do something such as killing one healthy man touse his organs to save five people who will otherwise die. Foot isalso known for contributing to the revival of Aristotelian virtueethics in contemporary philosophy, though it is less well known thatshe emphatically disavowed being an adherent of this view as it iscurrently understood.
Foot sees the commands of morality as like those of etiquette. Thoughthey are stated in categorical form, there is no reason to think thatsomeone who acts against them is necessarily irrational. It isperfectly plausible to think that they give reasons only if we havethe purpose of doing what we should do from the moral point of view.As with etiquette, the claims of morality are, in some sense,unconditional: one does not escape being wicked simply by lacking thepurpose of being moral. As Foot states,
The next question that Foot sets out to address is: what would be theimplications for morality if it turns out that rules of morality arehypothetical imperatives? Many think that this would be a catastrophicsituation. Kant, for example, thought that if morality were merelyhypothetically imperative, we would only be moral when it servedselfish and pleasure-seeking purposes. Yet Foot argues that Kant hadan inadequate view of human psychology, stating,
Nevertheless, Foot admits that the moral issue is not entirelyresolved by the matter of rights, so it does not follow that there isno moral objection to doing something because it would involve noviolation of rights. It is then a matter of whether it would be goodfor the person to die and, hence, whether it would be contrary tocharity. This rules out cases in which death is wished for by someonewho is facing a life of dependency because they are worried aboutbeing a burden on others. In such circumstances, other things beingequal, the death would not be for the good of the person. Foot alsohas concerns about the practice of euthanasia that make her hesitateto suggest that the practice ought to be more widely legalized.
It should be noted that, although Foot obviously made significantcontributions to the development of neo-Aristotelian virtue theory,she explicitly disavowed allegiance to virtue ethics (RG 2). Herreasons for distancing herself from virtue ethics are somewhatobscure, and possibly misconstrue philosophers who advocate viewsunder that heading, but it seems from her writings on the nature ofmorality that she considers morality something apart from virtue,something that is determined by an idealized, contractual moral code.Hence, she endorses the attempts of John Rawls and T.M. Scanlon todevelop social contract approaches to morality (1985 [MD 103]).
In this essay I will show that the passive only view is false, and that activeeuthanasia is also morally permissible. I will firstly explain what euthanasiais, and the distinction between active and passive euthanasia. I will explainthe passive only view and present James Rachels argument against it. I willthen present a possible objection to that argument, but show that it fails todefeat Rachels argument against the passive only view, and that therefore bothpassive and active euthanasia should be viewed equally moral.
P1: Active euthanasia is morally permissible only if there is no moraldifference between active and passive euthanasia.P2: There is no moral difference between active and passive euthanasia if theintention and consequence in both active and passive euthanasia are equal.P3: The intention and consequence in active and passive euthanasia are equal.
To propose euthanasia for an individual is to judge that the current life of that individual is not worthwhile. Such a judgement is incompatible with recognising the worth and dignity of the person to be killed. Therefore arguments based on the quality of life are completely irrelevant. Nor should anyone ask for euthanasia for themselves because no-one has the right to value anyone, even themselves, as worthless.Position of Catholic Church
It may happen that, by reason of prolonged and barely tolerable pain, for deeply personal or other reasons, people may be led to believe that they can legitimately ask for death or obtain it for others. Although in these cases the guilt of the individual may be reduced or completely absent, nevertheless the error of judgment into which the conscience falls, perhaps in good faith, does not change the nature of this act of killing, which will always be in itself something to be rejected. The pleas of gravely ill people who sometimes ask for death are not to be understood as implying a true desire for euthanasia; in fact, it is almost always a case of an anguished plea for help and love. What a sick person needs, besides medical care, is love, the human and supernatural warmth with which the sick person can and ought to be surrounded by all those close to him or her, parents and children, doctors and nurses.
A number of Protestant denominations have issued statements on euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. Conservative faith groups tend to be most vocal in their opposition. Liberal denominations tend to be more in favor of individual choice.
United Church of Christ: The Church affirms individual freedom and responsibility. It has not asserted that hastened dying is the Christian position, but the right to choose is a legitimate Christian decision.Pro-choice statements have been made by the United Church of Christ, and the Methodist Church on the US West coast. The Episcopalian, Methodist, and Presbyterian are amongst the most liberal, allowing at least individual decision making in cases of active euthanasia.
Jewish law strongly condemns any act that shortens life and treats the killing of a person whom the doctors say will die in any event to be an act of murder. Positive euthanasia is thus ruled out. Even individual autonomy is secondary to the sanctity of human.
A serious problem for supporters of euthanasia are the number of cases in which a patient may ask for euthanasia, or feel obliged to ask for it, when it isn't in their best interest. Some examples are listed below:
Supporters of euthanasia say these are good reasons to make sure the euthanasia process will not be rushed, and agree that a well-designed system for euthanasia will have to take all these points into account. They say that most of these problems can be identified by assessing the patient properly, and, if necessary, the system should discriminate against the opinions of people who are particularly vulnerable.
Some fear that the introduction of euthanasia will reduce the availability of palliative care in the community, because health systems will want to choose the most cost effective ways of dealing with dying patients.
Medical decision-makers already face difficult moral dilemmas in choosing between competing demands for their limited funds. So making euthanasia easier could exacerbate the slippery slope, pushing people towards euthanasia who may not otherwise choose it.
There should be no law or morality that would limit a clinical team or doctor from administering the frequent dosages of pain medication that are necessary to free people's minds from pain that shrivels the spirit and leaves no time for speaking when, at times, there are very few hours or days left for such communication. 2b1af7f3a8