Ethics And Euthanasia


Ethics, otherwise known as moral philosophy, is a branch in the study of philosophy. It aims to define a variety of concepts which link to the issue of a human’s morality. While ethical theories are usually divided into the areas meta-ethics, applied ethics and normative ethics, practical situations often blur the lines between the three.

The idea of ethics is not simple and it should not be confused with following ones feelings, religion, abiding by the law of their country or even what is deemed socially acceptable. Ethics aims to outline the concepts of right and wrong in all situations, investigating the origins of such ideas and regulating their application in a variety of situations.


Euthanasia is a term used to define the act of terminating a life to stop them from suffering. Doctors usually apply the idea to situations in which a patient’s illness is incurable or when they themselves ask for the doctor to end their life. It is not always the patient’s decision, in cases where they are deemed too ill to judge, a medic, relative or even the court can give permission instead.

Euthanasia is classified in a variety of ways. Active euthanasia is where a person deliberately partakes in ending someone’s life by providing sedatives in a large dose while passive euthanasia is when a person withholds the treatment which is needed to sustain the victim’s life.

The classification also depends on the patient’s choice in the matter. Voluntary euthanasia is where the patient makes a conscious decision and asks to die while non-voluntary or involuntary euthanasia is when a person doesn’t give their consent.

The ethics behind euthanasia

Euthanasia is a highly controversial issue and has been made illegal in countries such as the UK. The practice raises a series of moral dilemmas such as how humane it is to allow a patient to suffer if there is no cure, and the right of another human to make such a decision.

The arguments surrounding the practice of euthanasia are based on a series of practical issues not religious ones. Some people argue that it should be made illegal due to the possibility of abuse while others argue that everyone should have the right to choose the circumstances of their death.

The religious argument against euthanasia surrounds the fact that it is a form of assisted suicide an act which is not allowed on the basis that all life is seen as being sacred. While those involved in ethics argue that people should live a life full of quality and be able to choose a death which is dignified.

The practice of euthanasia can be justified through the theories surrounding ethics, but in practice its application is not simple.