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