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Euthanasia: Ethics of euthanasia Essay Sample

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Euthanasia: Ethics of euthanasia Essay Sample

The Ethics of Euthanasia

Morality refers to the determination of right or wrong as upheld by a particular society or group of individuals. The contemporary moral issues related to the current problems that are of controversial nature and in which the community is evenly divided on the opinion they hold of right or wrong. Utilitarianism is one such concept in the field of normative ethics for the purposes of quantifying or justifying the moral standing of an issue within a community. Utilitarianism is a principle proposed by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill in the 18th century leading to an early 19th century (Hinman 34). The law implies that an action is right if a majority of the people affected by it derive benefits from the work while an action is wrong if it will hurt more people. The pillars of measuring utilitarianism are intensity, duration, certainty or uncertainty, propinquity, fecundity, purity, and extent. The components are otherwise known as the felicific calculus.


The act of deliberately ending the life of a loved one or relative with an aim of reducing the suffering they undergo is usually referred to as euthanasia. The procedure is medical and can, therefore, be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary euthanasia is the case where the patient demands the action. Involuntary euthanasia is the situation when the patient has lost the ability to make a decision hence made for him based on previous wishes. Either way, it is still considered illegal in majority countries and states. Classification of the process could also be termed as passive or active. Passive euthanasia is the act of withholding treatment or part of the treatment that results in death (Somerville 57). Active on the other hand implies the intervention to seek death. The bone of contention lies on the issue of authority over life as held by moralists and the courage to address necessity as held by realists.

The act of taking a life is painful and is accompanied by far-reaching revivifications. However, the morality of an action is best determined by its aftermath as laid in the Bentham’s felicific calculus hence on euthanasia the same applies. Considering the pleasure of the action based on the seven variables Bentham used, positivity is evident I at least five of the seven. For instance, the intensity of the action causes ripples from the individual to the national level. The patient’s suffering ends, the expenses of the family on treatment are saved, the psychological torture caused to loved ones due to the hopelessness ends and finally, national medical resources placed are saved. On duration, the relief goes on forever while the action is as certain as they come, the patient is sure to die. As for propinquity, the pleasure is immediate and the extent of the effect is tremendous if both sides are considered. However, one thing is for sure, the certainty of consequential actions having opposite effect is nonexistent hence the view that the purity of the act isn’t in question.


Sometimes hope is harmful when science proves otherwise. Letting go of a terminally ill victim helps the family cope up well with the situation in question. Additionally, science never lies. Of all the parameters used by Bentham in the determination of benefits for an ethical issue, six of the seven score a positive in the case of euthanasia hence embracing the process is more of a development financially, socially and emotionally without any damage to moral conscience.

Works Cited

Hinman, Lawrence M. Contemporary moral issues: Diversity and consensus. Routledge, 2016.
Somerville, Margaret. Death talk: the case against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. McGill-Queen’s Press-MQUP, 2014.
Elliot, Carl. Dying Rites: The ethics of Euthanasia. New Scientist; London

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