Euthanasia: Morality and Divine Command Theory

Topics: Morality, Ethics, Moral relativism Pages: 8 (3115 words) Published: November 29, 2010
The selected moral topic that I chose for this semester is Euthanasia. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, Euthanasia can be defined as “the act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition, as by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment. (Mifflin, 1992) ” Euthanasia raises a Moral Dilemma. “A Moral Dilemma is a situation, in theory or practice, that forces an individual group to choose between two (equally) important values and, whichever side one chooses, one loses something.” One of the values that the author identifies is life. He says that “The person who causes his or her own death repudiates (or rejects) the meaningfulness and worth of his or her own life. To decide to initiate an act that has as its primary purpose to end one’s life is to decide that life has no worth to anyone, especially to oneself. It is an act that ends all choices regarding what one’s life and whatever is left of it is to symbolize (Dyck, 2008).” In this report on Euthanasia, though Ethical Relativist say that Euthanasia is right, the Divine Command Theory and Ethical Egoist say that the practice of Euthanasia is neither right nor wrong.

The Method of “Synthetic Assimilation” “seeks to learn from what the ten main moral theories have to tell us and seeks to create a unified and well-formed approach to moral reflection and action. The method contrasts with the “either/or” approach.” “The Method of Synthetic Assimilation allows you to see that there are various reasons for holding to certain views of right and wrong.” The structure of moral reasoning starts off with the General Moral Principle. The part of the structure of moral reasoning is the Factual Claim. Finally, the third part is the Derivative Moral Theory.

Applying Ethical Relativism to Euthanasia: The formal argument that cultural relativist would use in delivering the morality of Euthanasia would most likely run as follows: Premise 1: According to Ethical (or Cultural) Relativism, “if your culture says that something is right, it is right for you and your culture; if your culture says that something is wrong, it is wrong for you and your culture” [GMP] . Premise 2: While it is in some people's rational self interest not to engage in or allow euthanasia, it is in some other people's rational self-interest to engage in or allow euthanasia (FC). Conclusion: Therefore, according to Ethical Egoism, euthanasia is right in itself.

Let us expound on the GMP. “According to many philosophers, cultural or ethical relativism cannot work in pluralistic society because in such a society (for example, America) there are many sub-cultures. The theory assumes that everybody in the country has a homogeneous (that is, one) cultural upbringing. Because of what the theory says, it would lead to too much fighting between the sub-cultures.” “Indeed, if right were determined solely by what we took to be right, then it would not be at all clear what we are doing when we try to decide whether something is right or wrong in the first place—since we could never be mistaken! Certainly this is a muddled doctrine. Most likely its proponents have meant to emphasize that each person must determine for himself as best he can what actually is right or to argue that we ought not to blame people for acting according to their sincere moral judgment.” “Sociological relativism teaches that different cultures have different values; however; they do make any judgment on affirming or rejecting these values. Cultural relativism is illogical because (a) it assumes that the majority in a given culture speak for everybody; (b) it assumes that because people disagree on some things, they disagree on everything.” According to Ethical (or Cultural) Relativism, “If you culture says that something is right, it is right for you and your culture; if your culture says that something is wrong,...

Cited: Dyck, A. J. (2008). Morality and Moral Controversies. Pearson Prentice Hall .
Mifflin, H. (1992). The American Heritage Dictionary.
Mortimer, R. (1950). In Christian Ethics (pp. 7-8). London, England: Hutchinson 's University Library.
Unknown. (n.d.). Gallup Organization. Retrieved from ProCon:
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