A number of ethical questions are concerned with the endpoints of the human life span. The question of whether abortion or the use of human embryos as sources of stem cells can be morally justified was exhaustively discussed… The opinion that euthanasia is morally permissible is traceable to SocratesPlatoand the Stoics.
Consequentialism Because deontological theories are best understood in contrast to consequentialist ones, a brief look at consequentialism and a survey of the problems with it that motivate its deontological opponents, provides a helpful prelude to taking up deontological theories themselves.
Some consequentialists are monists about the Good. Other consequentialists are pluralists regarding the Good. Some of such pluralists believe that how the Good is distributed among persons or all sentient beings is itself partly constitutive of the Good, whereas conventional utilitarians merely add or average each person's share of the Good to achieve the Good's maximization.
Moreover, there are some consequentialists who hold that the doing or refraining from doing, of certain kinds of acts are Is euthanasia morally permissible intrinsically valuable states of affairs constitutive of the Good. None of these pluralist positions erase the difference between consequentialism and deontology.
For the essence of consequentialism is still present in such positions: However much consequentialists differ about what the Good consists in, they all agree that the morally right choices are those that increase either directly or indirectly the Good.
That is, valuable states of affairs are states of affairs that all agents have reason to achieve without regard to whether such states of affairs are achieved through the exercise of one's own agency or not.
Consequentialism is frequently criticized on a number of grounds. Two of these are particularly apt for revealing the temptations motivating the alternative approach to deontic ethics that is deontology. The two criticisms pertinent here are that consequentialism is, on the one hand, overly demanding, and, on the other hand, that it is not demanding enough.
The criticism regarding extreme demandingness runs like this: All acts are seemingly either required or forbidden. And there also seems to be no space for the consequentialist in which to show partiality to one's own projects or to one's family, friends, and countrymen, leading some critics of consequentialism to deem it a profoundly alienating and perhaps self-effacing moral theory Williams On the other hand, consequentialism is also criticized for what it seemingly permits.
It seemingly demands and thus, of course, permits that in certain circumstances innocents be killed, beaten, lied to, or deprived of material goods to produce greater benefits for others. Consequences—and only consequences—can conceivably justify any kind of act, for it does not matter how harmful it is to some so long as it is more beneficial to others.
A well-worn example of this over-permissiveness of consequentialism is that of a case standardly called, Transplant. A surgeon has five patients dying of organ failure and one healthy patient whose organs can save the five.
In the right circumstances, surgeon will be permitted and indeed required by consequentialism to kill the healthy patient to obtain his organs, assuming there are no relevant consequences other than the saving of the five and the death of the one.
Likewise, consequentialism will permit in a case that we shall call, Fat Man that a fat man be pushed in front of a runaway trolley if his being crushed by the trolley will halt its advance towards five workers trapped on the track.
We shall return to these examples later on. Consequentialists are of course not bereft of replies to these two criticisms.
This move opens up some space for personal projects and relationships, as well as a realm of the morally permissible. It is not clear, however, that satisficing is adequately motivated, except to avoid the problems of maximizing.
Nor is it clear that the level of mandatory satisficing can be nonarbitrarily specified, or that satisficing will not require deontological constraints to protect satisficers from maximizers. On this view, our negative duty is not to make the world worse by actions having bad consequences; lacking is a corresponding positive duty to make the world better by actions having good consequences Bentham ; Quinton We thus have a consequentialist duty not to kill the one in Transplant or in Fat Man; and there is no counterbalancing duty to save five that overrides this.
Yet as with the satisficing move, it is unclear how a consistent consequentialist can motivate this restriction on all-out optimization of the Good. Yet another idea popular with consequentialists is to move from consequentialism as a theory that directly assesses acts to consequentialism as a theory that directly assesses rules—or character-trait inculcation—and assesses acts only indirectly by reference to such rules or character-traits Alexander Its proponents contend that indirect consequentialism can avoid the criticisms of direct act consequentialism because it will not legitimate egregious violations of ordinary moral standards—e.
The relevance here of these defensive maneuvers by consequentialists is their common attempt to mimic the intuitively plausible aspects of a non-consequentialist, deontological approach to ethics. For as we shall now explore, the strengths of deontological approaches lie: Deontological Theories Having now briefly taken a look at deontologists' foil, consequentialist theories of right action, we turn now to examine deontological theories.
In contrast to consequentialist theories, deontological theories judge the morality of choices by criteria different from the states of affairs those choices bring about. The most familiar forms of deontology, and also the forms presenting the greatest contrast to consequentialism, hold that some choices cannot be justified by their effects—that no matter how morally good their consequences, some choices are morally forbidden.
On such familiar deontological accounts of morality, agents cannot make certain wrongful choices even if by doing so the number of those exact kinds of wrongful choices will be minimized because other agents will be prevented from engaging in similar wrongful choices.News > Health Designer babies: Picking traits for non-medical reasons could be 'morally permissible', says UK ethics group.
Letting parents choose preferred characteristics of offspring to avoid. Philosophical approaches to the dilemma of death with dignity Elizabeth Telfer Dr Elizabeth Telfer is a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, where she lectures on contemporary moral issues, including euthanasia.
Euthanasia: Euthanasia, act or practice of painlessly putting to death persons suffering from painful and incurable disease or incapacitating physical disorder or allowing them to die by withholding treatment or withdrawing artificial life-support measures. Because there is no specific provision for it in most.
If we are to effectively understand the debate about the right to die in the United States, it is imperative that a few basic terms be understood. The first and most important term is euthanasia.
A. AGS Ethics Committee, Physician-Assisted Suicide and Voluntary Active Euthanasia. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, May , 43(5) Applied Ethics. Under what conditions is an abortion morally permissible?
Does a citizen have a moral obligation to actively participate (perhaps by voting) in the democratic process of one’s nation (assuming one is living in a democracy)?