PHIL-1100 Ethics Euthanasia Essay

PHIL-1100 Ethics Euthanasia Essay - Euthanasia Objection to...

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Euthanasia, Objection to Williams J. Gay-Williams addresses his concerns about the acceptance of euthanasia in society in his essay “The Wrongfulness of Euthanasia”. Williams asserts that the acceptance of euthanasia is a “based on unthinking sympathy and benevolence" without critical though towards that act of euthanasia (193). Williams examines only the conditions of "active euthanasia" that is the inten- tional action, by a doctor, or the patient themselves, that is intended to end the live of the patient. Williams excludes any death that is unintentional, mistreatment, incorrect diagnoses, or allowing a patient to die (193). Williams argues that the act of euthanasia, taking action to intentionally cause the death of a patient, is inherently wrong (193). In the section, "argument from nature" Williams presents two major arguments. The first of these arguments is that human beings are, both in mind and body designed and intended to have "a natural inclination toward living" (193). The act of euthanasia works against this natural inclination, doing violence by acting aginst the processes of nature that are intended to preserve life (Williams, 194). Therefore, it is in conflict with the intention of the human body, and human nature, to defeat the mechanisms that are inten- ded to preserve life (Williams, 194). The second major argument addressed by Williams is con- cerned with human recognition of our bodies intended purpose. That is, reason allows humans to recognize the natural inclination in ourselves, and be aware of the conflict between the natural intended purpose of the human body, and the act of euthanasia to stop that natural propose. Wil- liams defines human dignity as coming from "seeking our own ends". Williams sees our natural goal being survival, and our ends being a natural death at the end of that process of survival. Therefore subverting our natural goal of survival is, according to Williams, a violation of our natural dignity (194). Based on these two characteristics of human nature, the inclination toward continued life, and ability to reason and understand our own ends, Williams concludes that we 1
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should reject active euthanasia based on the conflicts between natural human functions and eu- thanasia. Williams first argument, that human beings possess a natural inclination to preserve life, appears valid. By observation and knowledge of the functions of the human body we can verify that his first premiss is true. However, the second argument, that reason leads us to a rejection of euthanasia appears faulty and that natural human dignity involves not subverting the natural in- clinations of our bodies, does not appears plausible. Instead it seems that reason is the human characteristic that may allow the acceptance of active euthanasia. Humans, are able to reason, reach complex conclusions about complex situations. It is this exact characteristic of reason that sets human beings out from other animals, and that allows us to be aware of our own morality. The combination of ability to reason and understand the nature of our own mortality enables us
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PHIL-1100 Ethics Euthanasia Essay - Euthanasia Objection to...

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