Free «Classical Ethical Theories» Essay Sample

Classical Ethical Theories

Euthanasia is unethical and very unspiritual but rather negotiable.

Despite that, the will may come from the victim it turns to be a sort of suicide. Medical technology has helped to increase life expectancy and reduce the mortality rate from terminal ailments. Patients get to be treated more properly (Beauchamp, & Davidson, 1979). However, efficiency has never been at the peak, and thus euthanasia is relatively negotiable (Manning, 1998).

It is categorized into various types which include: Voluntary euthanasia which is done with the approval of the patient. It is legal in such countries as Belgium and Netherlands. Passive euthanasia is also where the patient with the help of a physician and family members gets to his or her death. Passive euthanasia is practiced in such US and Switzerland and is done by the withholding of life sustaining medication and even foods leading to death (Draper, 1998). However, supporters of the practice argue that the same way one has rights, the same should apply to a patient who is obviously going to die to do so with the minimal pain. The patient shouldn’t wait for a day where they suffer much or have to waste money by having to keep using drugs for their ailments. This debate was at peak in the 80s at a time where the medical field was not as advanced as it is today.

Remember! This is just a sample
You can get your custom paper by one of our expert writers
Get custom essay

Euthanasia can also be referred as a rejection of the significance and worth of people’s life. Individuals who hold up euthanasia repeatedly say that it is already considered acceptable to seize human life under some situations such as self protection (Brzezi%u0144ski, Andrzej, Kuipers, 2007). But they fail to understand that when one kills for self guard they are killing guiltless life - either theirs or someone else's. For euthanasia, no one's life is being saved; life is only being seized (Manning, 1998).

Supportive reasons

  • All individuals have a right to make a decision when they want to expire. It is upon oneself decision that he or she should decide to die and how. There are those people who never wished to die in deep agony.
  • It is incorrect to keep persons living beyond their usual life span especially if nothing else can be completed; for example, the use of the life support machine- it is said to be wrong and strenuous to the patient, the family and the doctors too to carry out a ‘mission impossible’ instead of providing a painless environment for all (Brzezi%u0144ski, Andrzej, Kuipers, 2007).
  • To give people the ability to die with dignity, instead of leaving them in shame and exclusive dependence.
  • For relatives, it beats logic by wishing to spare themselves the agony of watching their loved ones experience a slow and excruciating death.
  • Bond on Christianity and using the Bible as a source; Jesus said, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do to you’. If you were experiencing a lot of pain, you may want to die.

Reasons in opposition

  • Individuals might execute euthanasia in opposition to a person’s wishes. This means that involuntary euthanasia hides itself behind the voluntary euthanasia. Some people may be having ill motives towards the victim and thus pressure him or her towards accepting of his or her death
  • Individuals might get well from an illness against all odds. Doctor’s analysis might be incorrect. Not all doctors are right and sometimes when less cautious examinations are carried out, they may bring faulty results.
  • Christians believe in the Sanctity of Life. It is against the Commandment; ‘Do not kill’ Jesus was concerned about the sick; He did not talk about any type of euthanasia. Instead he would heal even those with terminal ailments.
  • Doctors are against euthanasia since it is their duty to try and save & protect life. They are subjected to the vows the initially made.
  • Some persons think accepting suffering may have a saintly value for your soul. This are thoughts of desperation and hopelessness, and  guidance and counselling could be offered to counter this psychological conditions.
  • Hospices and homes have now increased in number. This are hospitals and care centres where the terminally ill and terminally old are cared for, without losing their dignity and where endeavours are put to ensure that there is reduced depression. They are provided with their special basic necessities.    
  • A dying patient may not be able to make a rational decision. This is because of depression; to some extent mental illness; loss of memory for terminal old age and the sickly environment that leads to a negative attitude towards oneself (Manning, 1998).

Euthanasia could not only be for people who are terminally ill, but also to people who have other terminal sufferings, since it is said to alleviate pain and guarantee excellent health (Brzezi%u0144ski, Andrzej, Kuipers, 2007). Opponents of Euthanasia insist on dropping the reference of this illnesses as terminal and advocate replacement with terms such as ‘hopelessly ill,’ ‘desperately ill,’ ‘incurably ill,’ ‘hopeless condition,’ and ‘meaningless life.’ This is because doctors and other physicians have proven that people who are terminally ill can live for years when they are put under proper medication.

Many argue that if voluntary euthanasia is allowed then it would the start of involuntary euthanasia (Keown, 2002). This could lead the loss of innocent life and productive lives being taken away by doctors and then claiming that it was for the best but not considering a life has already been lost. This poses difficulties on which euthanasia legislature would work effectively so as not to manipulated by unwary doctors with selfish gain. The establishment of a euthanasia legislature makes ethical issues to arise since as many would claim is death even where it is not necessary (Huxtable, 2007).  

We will write
a custom essay
specifically for you
Get your first paper with
15% OFF
Learn More

Utilitarianism; also known as utilitism is more commonly known as the ‘The superior good’ argument; the confidence that the correct course of action is the one that maximize the overall "good" of the situation. Basically, it attempts to put across thatactions are correct to the level that they tend to encourage the maximum good for the majority. One of the great minds of all time describes it as "the greatest happiness or greatest felicity principle" (Kohl, & Kurtz, 1975). The theory will support euthanasia as they critically examine it in terms of the satisfaction that the patient wants to achieve in doing a particular thing. While contrasted with the deontological ethics which involves no form of regret or no specific determinant of the specific value of something (Brody, 1975). In my view, this theory will analyze the intensity of the disease, which involves the stage into the disease he patient is at, the possibilities of a longer life span, and the chances that they may actually pull out of the disease or even live longer than expected also putting into consideration that the families effect on the same.

Utilitism is a straightforward theory and its products are easy to apply. It also allows for levels of correctness and faultiness, and for every circumstance the choice between acts is straightforward: always prefer that which has the greatest usefulness. There are several objections, however: first, it is not always clear what the result of an act will be, nor is it always likely to decide who will be influenced by it. Judging an action by the result is therefore hard to do in advance. Therefore, choosing death may affect a victim’s family emotional stand. Death of one person may cause more illness to many others; that is multiplication of the problem.

Secondly, it is very difficult to quantify pleasures for cost/benefit analysis. The cost of ding and pleasure behind it cannot be easily or it is impossible to quantify due to their abstractness. Therefore choosing euthanasia is not clearly justifiable or unjustifiable on fixed terms. But since this can only be done on a comparing scale, this may not be as serious an opposition as it at initially seems.

On the third point is that, the calculation required to settle on the right is both complex and time overshadowing. Many occasions will not allow time and numerous people may not even be able to fit in the calculations. The emotional tension that surrounds an individual in a euthanasia dilemma reduces the chances of using cognitive intelligence in weighing the options.

Fourthly, since the greatest good for the maximum number is described in collective terms; that good may be achieved under circumstances that are harmful to others, so long as that damage is balanced by a superior good. Choosing euthanasia so as to eradicate financial constraints of family members of the victim is a bias action, because it takes a life so as to provide a better life to the majority.

We will write a custom essay on your topic
0 writers online
Learn More

Lastly, the theory does not recognize any personal rights that could not be violated for the sake of the maximum good. Certainly, even the murder of a guiltless person would seem to be overlooked if it served the majority. It fails to recognize that even the sick are still humans with equal rights to others (Mill, 1863).

There are two types of utilitarianism: Act utilitarianism provides for consideration of the consequences when faced by a choice and picking one from which one will obtain optimum pleasure from (Beauchamp & Davidson, 1979). The rule utilitarian looks at the rules/ laws on the particular act and what provisions are given upon breaking this law. Behavior is evaluated by regulations that, if unanimously followed would direct to the utmost good for the majority. It is seen that in many countries, euthanasia is not practiced and is actually grievous crime similar to manslaughter whether or not it is on consent by the patient as they see life as belonging to the government rather than on the individual. This makes it a crime against the state which is punishable by the state.

Ethical relativism is the notion that ethical standards or rulings are relative to the person or culture. In the case of euthanasia, the facts of the theory have been argued on the basis that the patients are willing to call off their lives and that the decisions are in the best of their interest and not for any other people. It has emerged that people prefer the decision of euthanasia though the religious conservatives oppose it (James Dreier, 2006). It is based on believe that people own different opinions and people argue for their own idea (Dolgoff, 2008). The opponents of euthanasia argue that the right to life should be above all and that patients always opt for the decision due to poor treatment. They argue that patients prefer euthanasia due to depression, too many thoughts and the cost of health care (Manning, 1998). This are their own opinions and culture instincts.

Ethical egoism is basically based on the protection of personal rights as well as the protection of interests (Österberg, 1988). It is a theory that campaigns that we in fact, rip the world up into two groups of people; ourselves and the others. And that we look upon the first group as more vital than the interests of the second group. Terminal illness could probably cause death therefore euthanasia could be the only left solution to the problem. Egoism is in contents with the decision made on personal grounds and that whatever made would be the best interest of the patient. Life is vital but in some cases self interest triumph over the worth for life (Österberg, 1988). The interest to avoid shame of sickness and the turn downs of the terminal age may lead to the choice of euthanasia for the solutions. Also, the family members involved may feel the urge to act as per their own self interest and consider the victim as the other and as a bother (Österberg, 1988). This will make them advocate for euthanasia.

3 hour!
The minimum time our certified writers need to deliver a 100% original paper
Learn More

Ethical emotivism: if euthanasia is controlled by the emotions that we experience then it would lead to controversy. First human beings do not experience same emotions about someone. If euthanasia was allowed, it may lead to killing of innocent people. This is because; people would act upon their emotions against the victims (Pitcher, 2010). Secondly emotions have influence in the decision we make, for example, saying “euthanasia is good.” This would be very disastrous, incase the emotions pose a negative attitude (Satris, 1987). Also, emotional decisions by the victim maybe very disastrous. If even upon much counseling and encouragement they are still determined to die, there is nothing much that can be done as healing and survival is attitude based. If one does not wish to heal they can get depressed and actually slow down the process (Wreen, 1988). If upon death the patient will be more at peace, then why not. The family members are much to consider as this way; they will also lose a close and loved one having them to be ready is not always easy. If the patient is conscious, then they should be the ones to give their wishes and if in a comma, say one that has extended to years, then it is important for them to make a sound decision.


Euthanasia is unethical and unspiritual but rather negotiable. From a good point of view, it can be analyzed that if this practice were practiced, there would be problems as there are people who would practice it in order to be malevolent or to take others property on the death, so it is best to have proper rules which actually give the exact time at which this should be done. To some extent it calls for euthanasia, because financial constraints may be overwhelming to unmanageable levels and, hence, stressful and unaffordable health care. If euthanasia had to be administered, then complex examination processes had to be carried out. For example, the creation of commissions which solely deal with decisions on Euthanasia. They may compose of lawyers, doctors, forensics, and psychologists. The psychologists will work in providing psychological assistance to the victims who are so desperate and assessing their tolerance. The doctors would aid in the examination and determination of the stage of sickness that patients are in. and the lawyers would aid in setting up of the levels (critical) where Euthanasia would be administered. At least if it has to take place, it should be beyond a reasonable doubt (Manning, 1998).