Killing Me Softly With Your Virtues

by Chinchilla on February 9, 2017 - 11:14am

Euthanasia is one of the most controversial moral dilemmas in medical science. It is the act of deliberately ending someone’s life, who is severely ill and in great suffering, with their consent. Other terms used to describe this act are assisted suicide or mercy killing. There is a lot of debate surrounding this issue, some argue that no individual should help another to commit suicide under any circumstance and that this act devalues human life. Some fear that it will not stop there and people will ask to end their lives without having a life-threatening illness or experiencing tremendous pain. Others think that it is unethical to let someone suffer greatly and not do anything to help them. Some people say that individuals suffering with daily pain who cannot enjoy living should be allowed to decide to end their lives. But this is where things get complicated; imagine if there is a child with a mental disorder that prevents him from speaking or communicating to others and he is in extreme pain. Is a parent allowed to make the decision to end their suffering? These kinds of decisions can be very hard to make. When faced with this dilemma, the most effective way of solving it is to use the perspective of virtue ethics, which is a way of looking at a situation and thinking about the person or agent in that context. Virtue ethics has no set-in stone rules to follow, it is a very case-specific way of thinking, which is a good representation of humans. (24 Merill) No two people are alike, everyone is unique in their own way and believes in different ideals. The perspective of virtue ethics is best suited for this dilemma as it is different for everyone, meaning that people can come to a unique conclusion depending on their values and beliefs. It is for these reasons that virtue ethics is undoubtedly the best way to look at the moral dilemma of euthanasia.









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Merill, John C., "Overview: Theoretical Foundations for Media Ethics," 3-32 in A. David Gordon, John M Kittross, John C Merill, William Babcock, and Micael Dorsher (eds.), Controservies in Media Ethics, 3rd Edition (New York:Routledge, 2011)


A gift to humanity

A gift to humanity