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Moral dilemma of whether euthanasia is ethically acceptable - Essay Example

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Moral dilemma of whether euthanasia is ethically acceptable

This paper weighs in on the ethics of euthanasia as it applies to elderly people near death and suffering, and in the context of such people being in nursing homes and hospices, being administered end of life care. My own experience visiting, interacting with residents and workers, and reflecting on those experiences at Brandon Woods is the mine of concrete experience on which I intend to draw insights into the ethics of euthanasia. This paper situates the discussion of the ethical acceptability of euthanasia in such elderly care settings from the perspective of at least three normative theories of ethics: Kant’s, utilitarianism, and cultural relativism. Сultural Relativism:Cultural relativism basically posits that cultural perspectives color what is moral and ethical, and so people from one culture differ from another in terms of what they deem to be moral and ethical, or immoral and unethical. In other words, this perspective takes off from the observation in the natural world, that societies have differing takes on what is right and wrong, so that what is right and wrong in one culture may be at odds with how people in another culture view what is right and wrong. The texts give the example of the Eskimos, for instance, who have differing views on marriage, sex, infanticide, and taking care of the elderly from the west. The text further give the example of two differing cultures having differing takes on what is right and wrong when it comes to disposing of their dead fathers, with one culture practicing what the other culture deems to be immoral and unethical, and vice versa. The practices are eating the dead and cremating them. At the heart of cultural relativism is the position that morality is something that is arbitrary, or at most the result of how different cultures form their opinions about what is right and wrong. In this sense there is no absolute right and wrong, and that everything is a matter of practice, as well as of opinion. The flaw from this conclusion is also made evident in the text. Two or more cultures with differing ethical beliefs do not necessarily rule out the existence of an absolute moral and ethical standard. For instance, that one culture deems eating the bodies of their dead fathers unethical, and that another deems burning the remains of their dead fathers unethical, does not mean that there is no absolute moral and ethical standard with regard to disposing of the remains of dead fathers. It is just that two or more cultures differ in their beliefs. Similarly, that Eskimos differ in their beliefs from western society about marriage and selectively killing children does not mean that there are no absolute ethical standards concerning killing infants, and concerning swinging partners and leaving old people to die in the cold. For another example that drives home this point, that one culture views the world as flat rather than round, or that one culture deems the world to be created rather than being the product of evolution, does not mean that there is no absolute truth with regard to the roundness of the earth, or the validity of the proof of evolution theory. The problems with cultural relativism are compounded when one takes off from the premises of the theory and then pursues their logical consequences to the end. For instance, if morality and ethics are relative, then one culture is no better than the other, and there can be no talk of ethical or moral progress. There is only the relative belief of one culture as the basis of ethical judgment. This conclusion flies in the face of historical developments that see morality and ...Show more


This paper weighs in on the ethics of euthanasia as it applies to elderly people near death and suffering, and in the context of such people being in nursing homes and hospices, being administered end of life care…
Author : ocie68
Moral dilemma of whether euthanasia is ethically acceptable essay example
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