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Compare and contrast the application of two ethical theories to a moral dilemma. Discuss the reasons for arguing that one of these theories is more effective than the other.

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Introduction

* Compare and contrast the application of two ethical theories to a moral dilemma. Discuss the reasons for arguing that one of these theories is more effective than the other. (50 Marks) In philosophy there are a wide range of different ethical positions. Many of these might influence what someone believes about a moral issue. One moral issue is euthanasia; it has been labelled a moral issue as it is concerned with what we ought to do i.e. right and wrong concepts that form the basis of ethics. Euthanasia is also a controversial issue as it is a matter of life and death. Death is one of the primary concerns of most individuals and cultures and therefore anything that brings about death will always be contentious. The first question that arises is what is a good moral choice? How can we determine what good is when there are many differing opinions? Is an action good if the nature or intentions of the action are considered good? Or is it the consequences of the action that determine the goodness of the action? ...read more.

Middle

Euthanasia is one such dilemma. Supporters of euthanasia believe that a dying patient has the right to end their suffering and leave the world in a dignified manner. Those who oppose euthanasia, on the other hand, believe that no one has the right to end the life of another person no matter what pain they may endure. The word euthanasia originates from the Greek word 'euthantos' meaning a good death and referred to intentional mercy killings. In society today euthanasia has acquired a more complex meaning. There are various types of euthanasia; usually it is when one person does something that directly ends the life of another for example giving a lethal injection. In assisted suicide the provisions of means and the opportunity whereby a patient may terminate their own life. Passive euthanasia is the termination of treatment which is prolonging the patient's life for example stopping a life support machine. Passive euthanasia is usually carried out on people in a persistent vegetative state and those who are terminally ill, to allow a natural death to occur earlier. Therefore pain becomes a factor that can influence someone's decision. ...read more.

Conclusion

After being taken to hospital she was described as being in a chronic persistent vegetative state and it was later revealed that no treatment could restore her to cognitive life. The only thing that was keeping her alive was a respirator. The Supreme Court in New Jersey appointed her father her legal guardian and requested the respirator be turned off. Karen Ann Quinlan remained in a coma for a further ten years until she died naturally. The final case study is that of Tracy Latimer. Tracy Latimer was clearly someone else to her father. Her father decided to end the life of his daughter as Tracy was clearly in no state to make a decision. Would Utilitarianism and Kantian Ethics agree with the actions that were taken in each of the case studies? In regard to Euthanasia, a Utilitarian would ask whether the action produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Jeremy Bentham was convinced that pain and suffering was an essential factor for a moral universe. Bentham believed that it was pain and suffering that gave you moral rights. Mill however chose to respond to the problem of how we are supposed to make moral decisions. Mill believed that rules could be developed from the Principle of Utility Rachel Seager Synoptic Work ...read more.

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