James Rachels: The Morality Of Euthanasia

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In this paper, I am going to talk about the topic of euthanasia. I will argue that active euthanasia is morally permissible in the case of a terminally ill patient who is going through unbearable amounts of pain. Furthermore, the focus of this paper will only be on this type of euthanasia; active euthanasia. However, in the first part of my essay I will not only define what active euthanasia is but I will explain how it differs from other types of euthanasia such as physician-assisted suicide. Then I will utilize aspects of James Rachels paper, “The Morality of Euthanasia”, in order to illustrate how active euthanasia can be morally permissible. Afterward, I will explain some aspects of my argument that others might find fault in and refute …show more content…
In Rachel’s paper he wants his readers to reach the conclusion that “active euthanasia is sometimes morally permissible” (Rachels 266). In his paper he chooses to expand and revise a Utilitarian argument, but for this paper I am choosing to focus on his discussion of “the argument from mercy.” Rachels chooses to focus on one main point of the argument from mercy, “Terminally ill patients sometimes suffer pain so horrible that it is beyond the comprehension of those who have not actually experience it” (Rachels 267). This quote helps to point out that people who usually argue against active euthanasia are not usually people who have experienced a terminal illness and the possible pain that can accompany that. The author continues to explain the argument by saying, “The argument from mercy says euthanasia is justified because it provides an end to that” (Rachels 267). This quote helps to illustrate the morality of the issue. It helps to illustrate how the idea of not allowing active euthanasia in some cases can be ridiculous. This is because a rational person is more inclined to end misery and pain then to prologue it, which is exactly what happens in some cases where active euthanasia is not …show more content…
In particular, the author focuses on a 28 year-old patient named Jack. The age is an important aspect as well, because the general population tends to think that the issue of euthanasia applies to the older population. Rachels also makes it a point to describe how morphine dugs would only, “control the pain for perhaps two hours or a bit more” (Rachels 268). Moreover, if that information did not pull at your heartstrings, I would argue that the strongest point came when Rachels entered the quote, “No human being with a spark of pity could let a living thing suffer so, to no good end” (Rachels 268). To some, this part of the argument might be where the reader scoffs, but to most this quote has the possibility of serving clarity. Additionally, I would argue, this is the best way to paint the picture in which a patient is in so much pain that he or she is begging for an end. The author closes this section of the argument by stating, “If a person prefers-and even begs for-death as the only alternative to lingering on in this kind of torment, only to die anyway after a while then surely it is not immoral to help this person die sooner” (Rachels 268). This is an important part of the argument to emphasize because it can also appeal to the people who are against active euthanasia. I say this because most people in society do not appreciate or want immense pain,

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