Essay 1: Euthanasia
In the essay, The Wrongfulness of Euthanasia, J. Gay-Williams states that euthanasia is inherently and morally wrong. He further argues that euthanasia is the intentional and deliberate act of taking a person’s life. Gay-Williams supports his claim by presenting three arguments which will prove why euthanasia violates the nature and dignity of human beings. In this essay we will discuss two of those arguments and some of their weaknesses in: The Argument from Nature and The Argument from Practical Effects.
The Argument from Nature explains that our bodies have a natural predisposition to continue living. Our bodies, through biological processes and behavioral responses, naturally fight to continue life. Some of these processes and responses include blood clotting, wound healing, and our natural ability to fight infection. Gay-Williams argues that as human beings we are conscious of our own intrinsic instincts to survive. We maintain dignity in seeking our own ends. To go against this would be to go against our basic human character. Therefore, euthanasia goes against our dignity and our inherent nature as human beings. Based on this argument we can see that dying is a natural process, however, euthanasia is artificial in practice. It provides a synthetic death. Euthanasia is final and irreversible. It encompasses the possibility that we will work against our natural selves and our own interest.
There are a few issues with Gay-Williams’ The Argument from Nature. The first problem I find is with his argument which states dignity comes from seeking our own ends. Gay-Williams states that our natural goal is survival and infringing on that violates our dignity. If we choose euthanasia, then wouldn’t that be seeking our own end? We would be making a fundamental and autonomous decision to end our own life on our terms. If we seek our own end, then we would maintain our dignity. If we maintain our dignity, then...
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