Virtue Theory as applied to Euthenasia
Many people see humans as having an inherent purpose on this planet. That we are all significant individuals part of a larger system. Within this concept, several philosophers have tried to determine HOW we should act, and which decisions we SHOULD make. According to Utilitarianism and Kantianism there are guidelines and rules we should follow in order to make a morally correct decision. Virtue Theory goes a little further than that, while still remaining quite ambiguous, by saying that the development of somebody’s virtues is all that’s important. These virtues will in turn give you the correct motives for the correct decisions. Virtue Theory considers and works around the individuality of each person on our planet. It is by no means perfect but it avoids universalizing rules that people should follow.
Euthenasia is a hotly contested topic within the realm of philosophers. Regardless of your standpoint on the issue, it all breaks down to how you view our purpose on this planet. One way to look at it is that we are all lucky to have been given the gift of life (by God, evolution or the flying spaghetti monster) and we should cherish that gift. By this line of thought, euthanizing somebody is unethical because ending your life would be violating the sanctity of life. On the other hand, others perceive each person’s individual purpose to be happy in a functioning society. Following this school of thought, euthanasia is totally ethical because it will bring a higher level of personal well-being to the patient. If the only way to end months of suffering is death, then how could it be ethical to keep somebody alive. Virtue Ethics considers the character of a moral person as the key force behind ethical behavior, as opposed to rules that define the right or wrong of an action. Rather than trying to define absolute rules and outcomes for situations, virtue theory places less emphasis on which rules people need to...
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