Justice versus Charity
Generally speaking there is a moral distinction between an act and an omission. In dealing with euthanasia, it is rational to think that the active euthanasia is further morally wrong than passive euthanasia. One would never be able to create a morally absolute rule that could address all life and death situations. Conversely, what if it is in one's most immediate interest to be relieved of their life, but they choose not to do so? Finally, how is one supposed to know whether a person wishes to live or die if that person can't communicate that thought? Using the ideals of morality and modern ethical questions, certain struggles in the field of euthanasia arise: active versus passive euthanasia, and the questions of how to deal with involuntary and non-voluntary euthanasia. Rachels sets out to contend that we are only able to answer these questions if we analyze the importance of two major factors concerning life: justice and charity.
The moral distinction between an act and an omission becomes somewhat fuzzy when the intent of the person performing the act or omission is benevolent. Rachels uses the example that a man has terminal cancer and is suffering; his treatment will not cure him nor alleviate his pain. If the medication continued it would prolong the patient's life minimally. So the patient chooses to have his treatment withheld so he may die more quickly. We understand that this is passive euthanasia by withholding helping matters. What doctor's use to justify this passive euthanasia is that extending the life prolongs pain where the patient will die inevitably. When a family member would view this situation, he would find that compared to active euthanasia, passive euthanasia prolongs the suffering of the patient. Rachels proves that active euthanasia is not justified through this example, but does prove it is morally preferable.
The objection to this claim is that when you passively euthanize somebody you are not...
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