Euthanasia and the modern views

Essay by jrsappire August 2005

download word file, 6 pages 5.0

Downloaded 41 times

A long time ago, culture was universal and permanent. There was one set of beliefs, ideals, and norms, and these were the standard for all human beings in all places and all times. We, however, live in the modern world. Our ethics are not an inheritance of the past, completed and ready for universal application. We are in the situation of having to form our own beliefs and meanings of life. This struggle is now obvious in the contemporary discussions of euthanasia.

Euthanasia derives its origin from two Greek words 'eu' and 'thanatos' which means 'good' and 'death' respectively. Thus the literary meaning of Euthanasia is only "good death". It later came to be known as "mercy killing". Euthanasia is often mistaken or associated with for assisted suicide, a distant cousin of euthanasia, in which "a person wishes to commit suicide but feels unable to perform the act alone because of a physical disability or lack of knowledge about the most effective means.

An individual who assists a suicide victim in accomplishing that goal may or may not be held responsible for the death, depending on local laws". Euthanasia on the other hand is defined as "The intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit. The key word here is "intentional". If death is not intended, it is not an act of euthanasia". Thus it is evident that there is a distinct difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Of the controversial discussions involving euthanasia, the question of legalization is an often-argued one. Whether euthanasia ought to be illegal is different from the question of whether it is immoral. Some people believe that even if euthanasia is immoral, it still should not be prohibited by law, since if a patient wants to...