Death and Euthanasia

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Legalising euthanasia has so far been a long and tedious debate where, in most cases, only unstable laws have been set down. J. Gay-Williams, in his essay The Wrongfulness of Euthanasia, presents what could be called a ‘traditional view’ of euthanasia and the typical arguments against it. However, it is quiet simple to show that the standard view on euthanasia is rather unstable as each of the three arguments put forth have at least one false premise. So in accordance to the above introduction I will continue to critically discuss the arguments against legalised Euthanasia particularly those put forth by J. Gay-Williams.

Passive Euthanasia, death through non-intervention, is believed by Gay-William’s not to be a form of Euthanasia and thus, not morally wrong. A definition of Euthanasia given by Gay-Williams can be briefly summerised. There are two people, X and Y. Person X commits euthanasia on person Y only if Y is suffering from a disease or injury which Y is not expected to recover from and in the action of taking Y’s life X’s intentions are deliberate. Gay-Williams believes that actively killing someone is morally worse than passively letting someone die. However, he is wrong, they do not differ since both have the same outcome: the death of the patient on humanitarian grounds. One argument is that with passive euthanasia techniques, the physician does not have to do anything to bring on the patient's death . However, by letting the patient die involves performing an action by not performing other actions.

That euthanasia goes against humane nature is Gay-William’s first argument in his traditional view against legalised Euthanasia. To survive is the sole purpose of the human body. As a very basic example; food is digested to provide energy for our body, which brings in air to our lungs, in turn it gives oxygen to our heart that pumps blood and antibodies around our body to help fight off infections to prevent the body from being killed. Similarly,...
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