Brock - Brock Voluntary Active Euthanasia Fall 1997...

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Brock: Voluntary Active Euthanasia Fall 1997 Introduction In his paper, "Voluntary Active Euthanasia" (1992), Dan W. Brock looks at the arguments for and against the legalization of active euthanasia. In his view, an individuals well-being and control over his or her own future, far outweighs any impact it may or may not have on society in general. I strongly agree with his arguments and will add some of my own. Argument for Euthanasia Brock’s first and probably most important argument is the individual’s right in self-determination. People have an inherent right in making "important decisions about their lives for themselves according to their own values or conceptions of a good life, and in being left free to act on these decisions". This view allows people to take responsibility over their own lives as long as the individual has some minimum decision making abilities. "It allows patients near death to maintain the quality of one’s life, avoid great suffering, maintain dignity, and insure that other’s will us as we wish them to. This outweighs merely extending one’s life. When it comes to life, quality is more important than quantity. If euthanasia was made legal, it would be very important that the law not be very specific in outlining the type(s) of situation that a patient may be granted euthanasia. This is because euthanasia is highly subjective, and it is important that the final decision about the manner, circumstances, and timing of one’s death be decided upon by the individual, their doctor, and their family. Brock’s other argument for supporting euthanasia is the value of a person’s well- being. The patient’s well-being seems to be at odds with self-determination when requesting euthanasia. But when a patient decides that the best life for him/her with the best treatment is still of very poor quality, than it may be worse than no life at all. Life no longer holds any promise or benefit for the patient, rather, it presents a great burden. Life itself is not as important as the quality of life.
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Potential good consequences of euthanasia There are several beneficial consequences that may follow the legalization of euthanasia, as proposed by Brock. First, a patients right to self-determination and pursuit of well-being would be respected. Second, a much larger group would benefit. Polls have shown the majority of the public supports an individual’s right to obtain euthanasia. Thus, making it legal would reassure people that it is available if they ever want it, and would give them a broader sense of control over their lives and process of dying. The third argument focuses on showing mercy to the suffering patient. For patients not receiving life sustaining treatment, ‘pulling the plug’ is not an option. Therefore, active euthanasia may be the only release from the otherwise agonizing and torturous process of dying. In some cases, it may be argued that the patient could be given pain medication to relieve the suffering and, as a result, make euthanasia unnecessary. However, the cost of
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course PHIL 146 taught by Professor Gotlib during the Spring '07 term at Binghamton.

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Brock - Brock Voluntary Active Euthanasia Fall 1997...

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