Topics: Ethics, Morality, Virtue ethics Pages: 13 (3672 words) Published: September 16, 2014
Doctors in Executions – Ethical Viewpoints
As a physician, a person has to choose between his/her duties - the job you are commanded to do or his moral and what it is the right thing to do. Although, as we all know doctors are supposed to help to preserved life not otherwise. I asked one of my family members who is a physician back home – which is Honduras, and where the death penalty is not allowed – what does he think about doctors’ involvement in these situations, and which he responded “ In my personal opinion I believe that physicians should not be thought in this situation because we are who we are now to our love for medicine because it brings hope and preserves lives, not because we want to be able to punish or wrong do someone with our skills, which are supposed to be used for good, and even though perhaps you are taking the life of someone who took the life of an innocent does not mean you get to choose what happens to that persons’ life”. And I totally agree with him, I think that if people who agree with the death penalty and it are involved in the process should find a way in which doctors are not involved in this situation. Our modern criminal system has preserved the death penalty but without the conventional inhuman methods of executions. While Europe and a few other countries have banned the death penalty, the US continues its tryst with this ancient form of punishment. However, the US has prescribed death through lethal injection as the means of humane execution. The law in at least 35 of these states requires that such executions depute a doctor for the whole process. (Black & Sade 27). This essay will seek to use and apply the concepts of a few philosophers and corresponding schools of thought to arrive at a view. The collective view will then be used to argue the principal requirement of this essay. This essay will discuss on the ethical consideration of why a physician should not take part in such a legal and state authorized executions. Mary Midgley

Firstly, I will like to mention - Mary Midgley who is an English moral philosopher known for her work on science, ethics, human rights and related topics. Midgley would deal with this topic from a ‘non-reductionist humanism’ approach as written in her work “A Chimera for Self Sufficiency.” According to Midgley,1 humanism exists to commemorate and enhance the glory of human life. The aspect is undistracted by reverence for any entities on the outside. But as soon as we cut away those entities, precious elements in human life also go, and the center begins to bleed. (94) Clearly, she takes a humanist approach to the issue, and that it can be understood to mean to mean that she is not very supportive the violation of medical ethics, and, in fact, Midgley wrote these lines in the very same context (of medical ethics) in her original work. By the term ‘center begins to bleed,’ Midgley is probably referring to the societal and human problems that occur due to the obvious violation of medical ethics by physicians. Therefore, from Midgley’s view on the subject one can deduce that a person as honorable as a physician should not get involved in executions that, in a way, are against the concepts of humanism as well as against the very core of medical ethics. Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher who wrote several treatises on Ethics and Philosophy. Nietzsche firstly claims that life as such is the will to power. (Nietzsche 44) Then he addresses the meaning of the term ‘will to power’ by mentioning, “wants to be a master of itself and around itself and feel itself master.” (Nietzsche 160) Nietzsche is, therefore, essentially claiming that life is inherently affirmative and, thus, one can see the devaluing of life as a symptom of sickness, due to the earlier claim. This claim is itself an interpretation, which we are “required to think through to its limits.” (Nietzsche 66) Nietzsche has essentially built a very convincing view on...

Cited: Black, Lee & Sade, Robert. “Lethal Injection and Physicians: State Law vs Medical Ethics.” Journal of the American Medical Association, 298.23 (2007): 27 – 29. Print
Bedau, A.H. “Bentham 's Utilitarian Critique of the Death Penalty.” The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 74.3 (1983): 1033 – 1065. Retrieved from
Gilligan, Carol. Moral Orientation and Moral Development. The Feminist Philosophy Reader. Boston: McGraw-Hill. 2008. Print
Hursthouse, Rosalind, "Virtue Ethics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2013 Retrieved from
Kant, Immanuel. Ethics: Contemporary Readings. Harry Genslet (ed.). London: Routledge Publications. 2005. Print.
Mackinnon, Barbara & Fiala Andrew. Ethics, Theory and Contemporary Issues. Farmington Hills. 2014. Print
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil. Trans. R.J Hollingdale. London: Penguin UK. 2003. Print
Noddings, Nel. Caring, a Feminine Approach to Ethics & Moral Education. Los Angeles: University of California Press. 1984. Print
Verhey, Allen (Ed). Religion and Medical Ethics. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1996. Print
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay about Betham Ethics
  • Essay on situation ethics
  • The Kantian View of Animal Ethics Essay
  • Kantian Ethics vs. Utilitarianism Essay
  • Ethics of Animal Testing for Medical Purposes Essay
  • Essay about ETHICS
  • Ethics Essay
  • Pirozzoli Ethics HU432 Exam 1 Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free