Total Posts:54|Showing Posts:1-30|Last Page
Jump to topic:

The Ethics of Euthanasia

bsh1
Posts: 27,503
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/3/2015 7:57:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Aloha!

I will try to make these "The Ethics of..." posts once a week for the next four weeks. I am willing to take recommendations for topics. In these posts I will briefly discuss an issue of ethics and explain my position on the subject. While I am always open to discussing my reasoning, I am also interested in hearing about your own thoughts on the subject, apart from what my stance is.

===============

This week I will be discussing the subject of euthanasia, which has been a prominent and heated source of debate in bioethics for generations. Before I launch into my thoughts on the subject, however, it may pay to discuss precisely what euthanasia is. Euthanasia, or the humane ending of a life, has many variants. Involuntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who chooses not to be killed. Non-voluntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who cannot choose, and voluntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who chooses to be killed. Passive euthanasia is killing through withholding care, and active euthanasia is killing through positive action.

With these points in mind, I can now lay out the basic ethical framework I am going to use to make my case. I think most reasonable people can agree that humans have moral worth; denying this essential premise would make any discussion of ethics fairly pointless, and so for the sake of this series and this post, I am going to assume that. Once we take human worth to be something that exists, we have to ask: why does it exist? Wherefrom does is emerge?

The simple answer to the above question is that humans dignity because we are self-determining. A table, for instance, cannot reasonably be said to have dignity, because it cannot make choices. The same thing is true of a bug, or even something more advanced, such as a cow, because the cow is governed by instinct, and cannot choose to override its instincts. The ability to knowingly choose to act morally or immorally, even when our choices go against our natural urges, makes us unique moral agents, as we are perhaps the only entities capable of making moral choices in every situation, even if we fail more often than we succeed. I would also argue that our ability to suffer is part of what makes us morally significant; I would argue that a person able to rationally think, but unable to feel, misses out on the emotional aspects of morality that are intrinsic to it (empathy, guilt, etc.). When suffering is inflicted on us, or when our ability to make choices is curtailed, our dignity is infringed.

The link to euthanasia here is pretty obvious, once we get this far. If people choose to end their lives, denying this choice would be a violation of their dignity. Similarly, if people are in immense suffering, they are in a state where their human dignity is constantly under assault, and live may not be worth living. Thus, voluntary, and in some extreme cases, non-voluntary euthanasia, is justified. Involuntary euthanasia violates choice, and so is wrong.

==========

Please feel free to contribute your thoughts here.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/3/2015 8:25:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I think most reasonable people can agree that humans have moral worth; denying this essential premise would make any discussion of ethics fairly pointless, and so for the sake of this series and this post, I am going to assume that.

Is that really true? You have applied a nebulous blanket term of 'moral worth' to which could mean literally anything. You have to be referring to somethign quite specific to be meaningful here, and I will wager that if you did have a specific cooncept in mind for this 'moral worth' that suddently your 'most reasonable people' premise is just not true.

Furthermore, I strongly disagree a discussion on ethics after rejecting that premise is pointless. Most relevant discussions I see on ethics are the development of conditionals and applying them if and when those conditions are met.

E.g.

'If a society wants to maintain stable democracy, then it ought to ....'

There are a lot of such conditionals that are very relevant to people's values today, which are far more extensive than this elusive 'moral worth' that you are arbitrarily attaching to humans. The former has a massive advantage over your premise since it is actually tangable.

Once we take human worth to be something that exists, we have to ask: why does it exist? Where from does is emerge?

1. It doesn't
2. No point in discussing the rest.

This is because you don't have any discussion of values here, only ones you prefer to see as imporant, e.g. 'dignity' etc. The post is far too narrow on a topic that is far too broad.

I recommend that you:
1. Narrow the topic, significantly
or
2. Narrow the argument, significantly

Because your conclusions are flimsy given they implictly assume every other unimagined factor is negligible or irrelevant.
bsh1
Posts: 27,503
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/3/2015 8:33:15 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/3/2015 8:25:16 PM, Envisage wrote:
I think most reasonable people can agree that humans have moral worth; denying this essential premise would make any discussion of ethics fairly pointless, and so for the sake of this series and this post, I am going to assume that.

Is that really true? You have applied a nebulous blanket term of 'moral worth' to which could mean literally anything. You have to be referring to somethign quite specific to be meaningful here, and I will wager that if you did have a specific cooncept in mind for this 'moral worth' that suddently your 'most reasonable people' premise is just not true.

Envisage, I am just not getting into this discussion. I am not having a debate on whether or not human moral worth exists. If you take issue with that, that's fine. But I neither have the time, the will, the energy, or the desire to start building morality from the ground up. There are certain assumptions these posts make, and in order to prevent every single one of them from degenerating into "does morality exist?" or the like, I am going to refuse to discuss them. It becomes increasingly difficult to tackle the actual question or issue when people constantly return to these basic problems.

Once we take human worth to be something that exists, we have to ask: why does it exist? Where from does is emerge?

This is because you don't have any discussion of values here, only ones you prefer to see as imporant, e.g. 'dignity' etc. The post is far too narrow on a topic that is far too broad.

I neither have the time nor the inclination to discuss all the various values and nuances of the issue. The goal is to be concise, which may lead to imprecision, but I am not writing a book here. I am happy, if people put forth counter arguments or alternative value systems, to address those. But I am not going to go through and do it in my OP.

=====

On a separate note, this post is kind of why I don't like you, for the record. You are an as$. You probably could discuss this topic in a way that didn't come off so dickish, but you seem unwilling to do so, and sometimes seem to delight in being a jerk.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
bsh1
Posts: 27,503
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/3/2015 8:41:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/3/2015 8:25:16 PM, Envisage wrote:
I think most reasonable people can agree that humans have moral worth; denying this essential premise would make any discussion of ethics fairly pointless, and so for the sake of this series and this post, I am going to assume that.

Is that really true? You have applied a nebulous blanket term of 'moral worth' to which could mean literally anything. You have to be referring to somethign quite specific to be meaningful here, and I will wager that if you did have a specific cooncept in mind for this 'moral worth' that suddently your 'most reasonable people' premise is just not true.

Furthermore, I strongly disagree a discussion on ethics after rejecting that premise is pointless. Most relevant discussions I see on ethics are the development of conditionals and applying them if and when those conditions are met.

That seems very subjectivist. Again, that isn't something I am going to deal with--if you want to believe all moral decisions are conditional or situational, that's fine. But I am going, for the purposes of these posts, going to address moral issues in broad strokes because it is simply easier. That doesn't render the discussion meaningless, and most users on DDO could discuss my OP without worrying that it's overbroad.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
Yonko
Posts: 227
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/3/2015 10:51:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/3/2015 8:33:15 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/3/2015 8:25:16 PM, Envisage wrote:
I think most reasonable people can agree that humans have moral worth; denying this essential premise would make any discussion of ethics fairly pointless, and so for the sake of this series and this post, I am going to assume that.

Is that really true? You have applied a nebulous blanket term of 'moral worth' to which could mean literally anything. You have to be referring to somethign quite specific to be meaningful here, and I will wager that if you did have a specific cooncept in mind for this 'moral worth' that suddently your 'most reasonable people' premise is just not true.

Envisage, I am just not getting into this discussion. I am not having a debate on whether or not human moral worth exists. If you take issue with that, that's fine. But I neither have the time, the will, the energy, or the desire to start building morality from the ground up. There are certain assumptions these posts make, and in order to prevent every single one of them from degenerating into "does morality exist?" or the like, I am going to refuse to discuss them. It becomes increasingly difficult to tackle the actual question or issue when people constantly return to these basic problems.

I think he was objecting to your assertion that all "reasonable" people must take universal human moral worth for granted, which implies that people like him are not reasonable. If you had said the above in place of that assertion, I don't think he would have brought this issue up. One is a rational reason for making a specific assumption, whereas the other is an implicit dismissal of nihilism as a valid intellectual position. Also, regardless of who is correct here, I don't see how his post makes him a jerk or how it was appropriate to call him out for that in a public forum.
Yonko
Posts: 227
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/3/2015 10:55:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/3/2015 7:57:36 PM, bsh1 wrote:
denying this essential premise would make any discussion of ethics fairly pointless, and so for the sake of this series and this post,

Actually, ignore my earlier post. I overlooked this part before, and I think it sufficiently conveyed the idea which you re-iterated in your reply to Envisage. I'm not sure why he brought up the issue he did, given that you had already said this.
bsh1
Posts: 27,503
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/3/2015 10:57:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/3/2015 10:51:59 PM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/3/2015 8:33:15 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/3/2015 8:25:16 PM, Envisage wrote:
I think most reasonable people can agree that humans have moral worth; denying this essential premise would make any discussion of ethics fairly pointless, and so for the sake of this series and this post, I am going to assume that.

Is that really true? You have applied a nebulous blanket term of 'moral worth' to which could mean literally anything. You have to be referring to somethign quite specific to be meaningful here, and I will wager that if you did have a specific cooncept in mind for this 'moral worth' that suddently your 'most reasonable people' premise is just not true.

Envisage, I am just not getting into this discussion. I am not having a debate on whether or not human moral worth exists. If you take issue with that, that's fine. But I neither have the time, the will, the energy, or the desire to start building morality from the ground up. There are certain assumptions these posts make, and in order to prevent every single one of them from degenerating into "does morality exist?" or the like, I am going to refuse to discuss them. It becomes increasingly difficult to tackle the actual question or issue when people constantly return to these basic problems.

I think he was objecting to your assertion that all "reasonable" people must take universal human moral worth for granted, which implies that people like him are not reasonable.

Not really. He just likes doing this to my arguments, which has gotten annoying. Moreover, I said "most" reasonable people believe that humans have moral worth. Thus, there are reasonable people who disagree with that assertion, so I am not necessarily saying that anyone who disagrees is unreasonable.

One is a rational reason for making a specific assumption, whereas the other is an implicit dismissal of nihilism as a valid intellectual position.

Again, I never dismissed nihilism as a valid intellectual position. I merely indicated with that sentence that it wasn't something I was going to bother talking about, because most readers would share the same basic assumptions I would, and so there isn't a need to explicate those assumptions further.

Also, regardless of who is correct here, I don't see how his post makes him a jerk or how it was appropriate to call him out for that in a public forum.

I think you need to further understand the relationship Envisage and I have, and the tone of his post. We can discuss it more in a PM if you want, but that is the extent to which I am going to discuss it here.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
bsh1
Posts: 27,503
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/3/2015 11:04:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/3/2015 10:55:59 PM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/3/2015 7:57:36 PM, bsh1 wrote:
denying this essential premise would make any discussion of ethics fairly pointless, and so for the sake of this series and this post,

Actually, ignore my earlier post. I overlooked this part before, and I think it sufficiently conveyed the idea which you re-iterated in your reply to Envisage. I'm not sure why he brought up the issue he did, given that you had already said this.

Okay.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
thett3
Posts: 14,334
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/3/2015 11:41:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Long quote, but this was a really compelling and moving piece for me, written by a guy who worked at a hospital.

"I was sitting in an ICU room yesterday where a patient"s body had just been brought out after their death. My attending was taking care of the paperwork in the other room, and I was sitting there reflecting, and I started thinking about what it would be like to die in that room. There was a big window, and it was a sunny day, and although I mostly had a spectacular view of the hospital parking lot, a bit further in the distance I could see a park full of really big trees. And I knew that if I were dying in that room my last thought would be that I wanted to be outside.

I think if I were very debilitated and knew I would die soon, I would want to go to that park or one like it on a very sunny day, surround myself with my friends and family, say some last words, and give myself an injection of potassium chloride.

(this originally read "morphine", but just today the palliative care doctor at my hospital gave an impassioned lecture about how people need to stop auto-associating morphine with euthanasia, because it makes it really hard for him to offer morphine painkillers to patients who need them without them freaking out. So potassium chloride it is.)

This will never happen. Or if it did, it would be some kind of huge scandal, and whoever gave me the potassium chloride would be fired or something. But the people dying demented and hopeless connected to half a dozen tubes in ICU rooms aren"t considered scandals by anybody. That"s just "the natural way of things".

I work in a Catholic hospital. People here say the phrase "culture of life" a lot, as in "we need to cultivate a culture of life." They say it almost as often as they say "patient-centered". At my hospital orientation, a whole bunch of nuns and executives and people like that got up and told us how we had to do our part to "cultivate a culture of life."

And now every time I hear that phrase I want to scream. 21st century American hospitals do not need to "cultivate a culture of life". We have enough life. We have life up the wazoo. We have more life than we know what to do with. We have life far beyond the point where it becomes a sick caricature of itself. We prolong life until it becomes a sickness, an abomination, a miserable and pathetic flight from death that saps out and mocks everything that made life desirable in the first place. 21st century American hospitals need to cultivate a culture of life the same way that Newcastle needs to cultivate a culture of coal, the same way a man who is burning to death needs to cultivate a culture of fire."

http://slatestarcodex.com...
DDO Vice President

#StandwithBossy

#UnbanTheMadman

#BetOnThett

"Don't quote me, ever." -Max

"My name is max. I'm not a big fan of slacks"- Max rapping

"Walmart should have the opportunity to bribe a politician to it's agenda" -Max

"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 12:45:51 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/3/2015 11:41:33 PM, thett3 wrote:
Long quote, but this was a really compelling and moving piece for me, written by a guy who worked at a hospital.

"I was sitting in an ICU room yesterday where a patient"s body had just been brought out after their death. My attending was taking care of the paperwork in the other room, and I was sitting there reflecting, and I started thinking about what it would be like to die in that room. There was a big window, and it was a sunny day, and although I mostly had a spectacular view of the hospital parking lot, a bit further in the distance I could see a park full of really big trees. And I knew that if I were dying in that room my last thought would be that I wanted to be outside.

I think if I were very debilitated and knew I would die soon, I would want to go to that park or one like it on a very sunny day, surround myself with my friends and family, say some last words, and give myself an injection of potassium chloride.

(this originally read "morphine", but just today the palliative care doctor at my hospital gave an impassioned lecture about how people need to stop auto-associating morphine with euthanasia, because it makes it really hard for him to offer morphine painkillers to patients who need them without them freaking out. So potassium chloride it is.)

This will never happen. Or if it did, it would be some kind of huge scandal, and whoever gave me the potassium chloride would be fired or something. But the people dying demented and hopeless connected to half a dozen tubes in ICU rooms aren"t considered scandals by anybody. That"s just "the natural way of things".

I work in a Catholic hospital. People here say the phrase "culture of life" a lot, as in "we need to cultivate a culture of life." They say it almost as often as they say "patient-centered". At my hospital orientation, a whole bunch of nuns and executives and people like that got up and told us how we had to do our part to "cultivate a culture of life."

And now every time I hear that phrase I want to scream. 21st century American hospitals do not need to "cultivate a culture of life". We have enough life. We have life up the wazoo. We have more life than we know what to do with. We have life far beyond the point where it becomes a sick caricature of itself. We prolong life until it becomes a sickness, an abomination, a miserable and pathetic flight from death that saps out and mocks everything that made life desirable in the first place. 21st century American hospitals need to cultivate a culture of life the same way that Newcastle needs to cultivate a culture of coal, the same way a man who is burning to death needs to cultivate a culture of fire."

http://slatestarcodex.com...

+1

I grew up with several great grandparents who lived into their very late years. I've been into an Alzheimer's ward. It was terrifying, a horrific place, and a 'caricature of life' describes it perfectly. I'm glad that my great-grandmother just got 'funny' as she progressed; some of the other cases... I feel like this is the sort of thing that we will one day look back on in the same way that we now look back on insane asylums. It is, frankly, inhumane.

My grandmother watched her mother go through that, visited her every other day, saw the people there, and has been talking about euthanasia for a while, once she reaches that point. To me, an graceful, intelligent, caring woman who I love very much, and who loves nothing more than to walk through her beloved woods, should not be sealed behind plate glass while her life slowly bleeds out over a decade. I respect her decision.

I think that I know of another man who recently went through his wife being diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I believe that they may have done what was described in this story in the end: euthanasia under the desert stars. It's beautiful, to me, that two people would be able to face that final decision with resoluteness and sincerity. To feel that sort of fierce love for one another that spans a lifetime, and then extinguish it together, before it gutters.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
thett3
Posts: 14,334
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 12:57:38 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 12:45:51 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:

I think that I know of another man who recently went through his wife being diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I believe that they may have done what was described in this story in the end: euthanasia under the desert stars. It's beautiful, to me, that two people would be able to face that final decision with resoluteness and sincerity. To feel that sort of fierce love for one another that spans a lifetime, and then extinguish it together, before it gutters.

There's a nursing home about 2 miles down the road from where I grew up. Once when I was really little it was a big local story that some old man had gone in there and killed his wife, and then himself. At the time I just thought he was an evil and deranged murderer, but I recently remembered that story again when I was driving past that place and I then realized what the true context of that act probably was. Not nearly as graceful as dying under the stars like that, but it's painful to see a loved one like that....

We often treat dogs with more dignity than we do with our fellow humans.
DDO Vice President

#StandwithBossy

#UnbanTheMadman

#BetOnThett

"Don't quote me, ever." -Max

"My name is max. I'm not a big fan of slacks"- Max rapping

"Walmart should have the opportunity to bribe a politician to it's agenda" -Max

"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
Devilry
Posts: 446
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 1:34:52 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
My grandmother's going through Alzheimer's at the moment. She had this, like, trip or whatever you'd call it recently where she imagined she was my brother (like, she painted his circumstances for herself exactly) and got all hysterical about it. It was really weird, to be honest. But, at the same time, reassuring, because it seemed to me to mean she was still there. Always a good woman; always cared a lot. F*ck, I don't like the idea of my loved ones dying or deteriorating or whatever. It is obviously wrong that we should let people just fall into suffering for as far as it takes them, though.
: : : At 11/15/2016 6:22:17 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
: That's not racism. Thats economics.
Yonko
Posts: 227
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 2:08:40 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/3/2015 7:57:36 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Aloha!

I will try to make these "The Ethics of..." posts once a week for the next four weeks. I am willing to take recommendations for topics. In these posts I will briefly discuss an issue of ethics and explain my position on the subject. While I am always open to discussing my reasoning, I am also interested in hearing about your own thoughts on the subject, apart from what my stance is.

===============

This week I will be discussing the subject of euthanasia, which has been a prominent and heated source of debate in bioethics for generations. Before I launch into my thoughts on the subject, however, it may pay to discuss precisely what euthanasia is. Euthanasia, or the humane ending of a life, has many variants. Involuntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who chooses not to be killed. Non-voluntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who cannot choose, and voluntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who chooses to be killed. Passive euthanasia is killing through withholding care, and active euthanasia is killing through positive action.

With these points in mind, I can now lay out the basic ethical framework I am going to use to make my case. I think most reasonable people can agree that humans have moral worth; denying this essential premise would make any discussion of ethics fairly pointless, and so for the sake of this series and this post, I am going to assume that. Once we take human worth to be something that exists, we have to ask: why does it exist? Wherefrom does is emerge?

The simple answer to the above question is that humans dignity because we are self-determining. A table, for instance, cannot reasonably be said to have dignity, because it cannot make choices. The same thing is true of a bug, or even something more advanced, such as a cow, because the cow is governed by instinct, and cannot choose to override its instincts. The ability to knowingly choose to act morally or immorally, even when our choices go against our natural urges, makes us unique moral agents, as we are perhaps the only entities capable of making moral choices in every situation, even if we fail more often than we succeed. I would also argue that our ability to suffer is part of what makes us morally significant; I would argue that a person able to rationally think, but unable to feel, misses out on the emotional aspects of morality that are intrinsic to it (empathy, guilt, etc.). When suffering is inflicted on us, or when our ability to make choices is curtailed, our dignity is infringed.

The link to euthanasia here is pretty obvious, once we get this far. If people choose to end their lives, denying this choice would be a violation of their dignity. Similarly, if people are in immense suffering, they are in a state where their human dignity is constantly under assault, and live may not be worth living. Thus, voluntary, and in some extreme cases, non-voluntary euthanasia, is justified. Involuntary euthanasia violates choice, and so is wrong.

My main objection here would be that autonomy and suffering of the patient himself aren't the only factors to consider here. A single suicide usually impacts many other people as well; it casts a deep shadow upon everyone who was close to the victim, which can sometimes last their entire lives. Considering that the vast majority of people who have survived suicide attempts are glad that they did (i.e. their suffering wasn't actually that bad), the negative social consequences of a suicide easily outweigh the autonomy and suffering of the suicidal individual. And that's not even taking into account the opportunity cost of the happiness which could have been experienced by the individual had he continued to live. Basic consequentialist reasoning indicates that suicide is generally not morally permissible.

Furthermore, your rationale only justifies suicide in general - it doesn't justify the government condoning suicide through the legalization of voluntary euthanasia. Even if suicide is morally permissible, that doesn't mean the state should allow doctors to assist people with it. In addition to being a non-sequitur, that has all sorts of harms like increasing suicide rates (thereby exacerbating all the associated negative social consequences), and providing a way for people to commit homicide through abuse of the system.
Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,065
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 2:14:47 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Euthanasia should be allowed (though there should be a "cooling off" period in between when you sign the papers volunteering to be euthanized or say certain words which can reasonably be interpreted as consent and whenever the operation takes place so as to avoid a regrettable spur-of-the-moment decision to die). However, it becomes more of a gray zone whenever it comes down to relatives deciding whether or not grandpa who's unable to give consent should be euthanized. The risk of people euthanizing diseased/disabled relatives for the inheritance money or life insurance aside, you simply cannot know what the person whose life is in question wants.
And what about parents who decide that their 3 year old with Down Syndrome (or how about autism?) should be euthanized?

Ultimately the problem I have is whenever it's somebody else's choice as to whether or not you should be euthanized.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
bsh1
Posts: 27,503
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 2:23:59 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 2:08:40 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/3/2015 7:57:36 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Aloha!

I will try to make these "The Ethics of..." posts once a week for the next four weeks. I am willing to take recommendations for topics. In these posts I will briefly discuss an issue of ethics and explain my position on the subject. While I am always open to discussing my reasoning, I am also interested in hearing about your own thoughts on the subject, apart from what my stance is.

===============

This week I will be discussing the subject of euthanasia, which has been a prominent and heated source of debate in bioethics for generations. Before I launch into my thoughts on the subject, however, it may pay to discuss precisely what euthanasia is. Euthanasia, or the humane ending of a life, has many variants. Involuntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who chooses not to be killed. Non-voluntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who cannot choose, and voluntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who chooses to be killed. Passive euthanasia is killing through withholding care, and active euthanasia is killing through positive action.

With these points in mind, I can now lay out the basic ethical framework I am going to use to make my case. I think most reasonable people can agree that humans have moral worth; denying this essential premise would make any discussion of ethics fairly pointless, and so for the sake of this series and this post, I am going to assume that. Once we take human worth to be something that exists, we have to ask: why does it exist? Wherefrom does is emerge?

The simple answer to the above question is that humans dignity because we are self-determining. A table, for instance, cannot reasonably be said to have dignity, because it cannot make choices. The same thing is true of a bug, or even something more advanced, such as a cow, because the cow is governed by instinct, and cannot choose to override its instincts. The ability to knowingly choose to act morally or immorally, even when our choices go against our natural urges, makes us unique moral agents, as we are perhaps the only entities capable of making moral choices in every situation, even if we fail more often than we succeed. I would also argue that our ability to suffer is part of what makes us morally significant; I would argue that a person able to rationally think, but unable to feel, misses out on the emotional aspects of morality that are intrinsic to it (empathy, guilt, etc.). When suffering is inflicted on us, or when our ability to make choices is curtailed, our dignity is infringed.

The link to euthanasia here is pretty obvious, once we get this far. If people choose to end their lives, denying this choice would be a violation of their dignity. Similarly, if people are in immense suffering, they are in a state where their human dignity is constantly under assault, and live may not be worth living. Thus, voluntary, and in some extreme cases, non-voluntary euthanasia, is justified. Involuntary euthanasia violates choice, and so is wrong.

My main objection here would be that autonomy and suffering of the patient himself aren't the only factors to consider here. A single suicide usually impacts many other people as well; it casts a deep shadow upon everyone who was close to the victim, which can sometimes last their entire lives.

I should clarify that I support euthanasia for terminally ill patients. In this case, the pain of death is inevitable for those family members. And ought not the patient's interests be prioritized over those of his or her family when making medical decisions regarding the patient?

Furthermore, your rationale only justifies suicide in general - it doesn't justify the government condoning suicide through the legalization of voluntary euthanasia.

I never claimed that it did make that leap. This is "The Ethics of" not "The Government Policy of."
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
Yonko
Posts: 227
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 2:33:19 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 2:23:59 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I should clarify that I support euthanasia for terminally ill patients. In this case, the pain of death is inevitable for those family members. And ought not the patient's interests be prioritized over those of his or her family when making medical decisions regarding the patient?

Oh. That would have been nice to know beforehand. I'm honestly not able to see any good case for suicide being immoral in those cases. My second objection regarding the non-sequitur would still apply to that, though.


Furthermore, your rationale only justifies suicide in general - it doesn't justify the government condoning suicide through the legalization of voluntary euthanasia.

I never claimed that it did make that leap. This is "The Ethics of" not "The Government Policy of."

But the only difference between "Euthanasia" and "Suicide" is that the latter is government-sanctioned...
bsh1
Posts: 27,503
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 2:49:57 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 2:33:19 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:23:59 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I never claimed that it did make that leap. This is "The Ethics of" not "The Government Policy of."

But the only difference between "Euthanasia" and "Suicide" is that the latter is government-sanctioned...

That's not the distinction I would've drawn. I would say that euthanasia is administered with medical aid or advice and is humane. Suicide doesn't necessarily entail either of these. For instance, in a society where euthanasia is illegal, and a doctor kills his terminally ill patient upon request, I would still refer to that act as euthanasia despite it's not being sanctioned by the government.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
Hoppi
Posts: 1,655
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 3:01:08 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 2:33:19 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:23:59 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I should clarify that I support euthanasia for terminally ill patients. In this case, the pain of death is inevitable for those family members. And ought not the patient's interests be prioritized over those of his or her family when making medical decisions regarding the patient?

Oh. That would have been nice to know beforehand. I'm honestly not able to see any good case for suicide being immoral in those cases. My second objection regarding the non-sequitur would still apply to that, though.

I really dislike having two categories of people - those who are allowed to kill themselves and those who aren't. How can you shift a subsection of the population into an "allowed to die" category and still believe that everyone is treated equally. I think that shift also implies a duty to die. That is, if your healthcare is costing your family a lot of money, handing over an information brochure about ways you can be legally assisted to die is pressuring you to make that decision. Also, everyone dies in the end. I don't see how having a terminal illness warrants such a harsh categorization.

Furthermore, your rationale only justifies suicide in general - it doesn't justify the government condoning suicide through the legalization of voluntary euthanasia.

I never claimed that it did make that leap. This is "The Ethics of" not "The Government Policy of."

But the only difference between "Euthanasia" and "Suicide" is that the latter is government-sanctioned...
Yonko
Posts: 227
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 3:03:42 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 3:01:08 AM, Hoppi wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:33:19 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:23:59 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I should clarify that I support euthanasia for terminally ill patients. In this case, the pain of death is inevitable for those family members. And ought not the patient's interests be prioritized over those of his or her family when making medical decisions regarding the patient?

Oh. That would have been nice to know beforehand. I'm honestly not able to see any good case for suicide being immoral in those cases. My second objection regarding the non-sequitur would still apply to that, though.

I really dislike having two categories of people - those who are allowed to kill themselves and those who aren't. How can you shift a subsection of the population into an "allowed to die" category and still believe that everyone is treated equally. I think that shift also implies a duty to die. That is, if your healthcare is costing your family a lot of money, handing over an information brochure about ways you can be legally assisted to die is pressuring you to make that decision. Also, everyone dies in the end. I don't see how having a terminal illness warrants such a harsh categorization.

That is actually an argument I was thinking about making, but wasn't sure how to articulate. Selectively permitting euthanasia violates equality by treating only some lives as being expendable.
Yonko
Posts: 227
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 4:02:12 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 2:49:57 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:33:19 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:23:59 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I never claimed that it did make that leap. This is "The Ethics of" not "The Government Policy of."

But the only difference between "Euthanasia" and "Suicide" is that the latter is government-sanctioned...

That's not the distinction I would've drawn. I would say that euthanasia is administered with medical aid or advice and is humane. Suicide doesn't necessarily entail either of these.

For instance, in a society where euthanasia is illegal, and a doctor kills his terminally ill patient upon request, I would still refer to that act as euthanasia despite it's not being sanctioned by the government.

I would refer to that act as murder... society's standards form the context for morality, and those standards are reflected in laws. Performing assisted suicide without it being legalized (i.e. without having society's authorization) is the equivalent of someone shooting a terminally-ill patient in a dark alley and then presenting proof that patient paid him to do so. It's murder. Simply being a medical professional doesn't grant any sort of special moral privilege - only the government and society at large can grant that. For anyone (including a medical professional) to permissibly assist in suicide would require a legal exception to the general prohibition of homicide, so euthanasia would necessarily involve some form of government-sanctioning.
bsh1
Posts: 27,503
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 4:07:27 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 4:02:12 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:49:57 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:33:19 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:23:59 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I never claimed that it did make that leap. This is "The Ethics of" not "The Government Policy of."

But the only difference between "Euthanasia" and "Suicide" is that the latter is government-sanctioned...

That's not the distinction I would've drawn. I would say that euthanasia is administered with medical aid or advice and is humane. Suicide doesn't necessarily entail either of these.

For instance, in a society where euthanasia is illegal, and a doctor kills his terminally ill patient upon request, I would still refer to that act as euthanasia despite it's not being sanctioned by the government.

I would refer to that act as murder...

In a strictly legal sense, yes, it's homicide. But, in a more colloquial since, it is also euthanasia.

society's standards form the context for morality, and those standards are reflected in laws.

Standards are always up for debate, and laws do not always conform with society's morality. Outdated laws, powerful minority lobbies, autocratic interests, can shape laws in a way that is different from the majority's more values.

Simply being a medical professional doesn't grant any sort of special moral privilege - only the government and society at large can grant that.

I never said that being a medical professional granted moral privilege. I said that medical advice or aid is part of what euthanasia is. And I don't buy that the government is the arbiter of moral privilege. In this case, it is the patient, through their autonomous decision, that--on a moral level--conveys the privilege.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
Yonko
Posts: 227
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 4:10:18 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 4:07:27 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/4/2015 4:02:12 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:49:57 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:33:19 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:23:59 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I never claimed that it did make that leap. This is "The Ethics of" not "The Government Policy of."

But the only difference between "Euthanasia" and "Suicide" is that the latter is government-sanctioned...

That's not the distinction I would've drawn. I would say that euthanasia is administered with medical aid or advice and is humane. Suicide doesn't necessarily entail either of these.

For instance, in a society where euthanasia is illegal, and a doctor kills his terminally ill patient upon request, I would still refer to that act as euthanasia despite it's not being sanctioned by the government.

I would refer to that act as murder...

In a strictly legal sense, yes, it's homicide. But, in a more colloquial since, it is also euthanasia.

society's standards form the context for morality, and those standards are reflected in laws.

Standards are always up for debate, and laws do not always conform with society's morality. Outdated laws, powerful minority lobbies, autocratic interests, can shape laws in a way that is different from the majority's more values.

Simply being a medical professional doesn't grant any sort of special moral privilege - only the government and society at large can grant that.

I never said that being a medical professional granted moral privilege. I said that medical advice or aid is part of what euthanasia is. And I don't buy that the government is the arbiter of moral privilege. In this case, it is the patient, through their autonomous decision, that--on a moral level--conveys the privilege.

What distinguishes euthanasia from the example I gave?
tejretics
Posts: 6,080
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 4:14:55 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/3/2015 7:57:36 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Aloha!

I will try to make these "The Ethics of..." posts once a week for the next four weeks. I am willing to take recommendations for topics. In these posts I will briefly discuss an issue of ethics and explain my position on the subject. While I am always open to discussing my reasoning, I am also interested in hearing about your own thoughts on the subject, apart from what my stance is.

===============

This week I will be discussing the subject of euthanasia, which has been a prominent and heated source of debate in bioethics for generations. Before I launch into my thoughts on the subject, however, it may pay to discuss precisely what euthanasia is. Euthanasia, or the humane ending of a life, has many variants. Involuntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who chooses not to be killed. Non-voluntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who cannot choose, and voluntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who chooses to be killed. Passive euthanasia is killing through withholding care, and active euthanasia is killing through positive action.

With these points in mind, I can now lay out the basic ethical framework I am going to use to make my case. I think most reasonable people can agree that humans have moral worth; denying this essential premise would make any discussion of ethics fairly pointless, and so for the sake of this series and this post, I am going to assume that. Once we take human worth to be something that exists, we have to ask: why does it exist? Wherefrom does is emerge?

(1) I don't understand what you mean by "moral worth." I don't think there's any intrinsic, objective value ascribed to anything. And I disagree that ethics is impossible sans moral "worth," since ethics is only contingent on right and wrong existing. If A has moral worth, what does it merit? Do you mean the same as moral status?

(2) Why does it have to have a reason for its existence? Many moral platonists hold that morality doesn't have an origin since it isn't contingent on anything else. Couldn't moral worth be a brute fact?


The simple answer to the above question is that humans dignity because we are self-determining. A table, for instance, cannot reasonably be said to have dignity, because it cannot make choices. The same thing is true of a bug, or even something more advanced, such as a cow, because the cow is governed by instinct, and cannot choose to override its instincts. The ability to knowingly choose to act morally or immorally, even when our choices go against our natural urges, makes us unique moral agents, as we are perhaps the only entities capable of making moral choices in every situation, even if we fail more often than we succeed. I would also argue that our ability to suffer is part of what makes us morally significant; I would argue that a person able to rationally think, but unable to feel, misses out on the emotional aspects of morality that are intrinsic to it (empathy, guilt, etc.). When suffering is inflicted on us, or when our ability to make choices is curtailed, our dignity is infringed.

So moral worth is contingent on dignity? You've merely articulated the premise in multiple ways -- I'm not seeing any justification for this dignity-based framework. I don't buy it. The whole raison d'etre for morality is to prevent suffering and increase happiness/pleasure/liberty. It follows that if entity X feels pleasure and suffering, it has moral worth. I don't see how dignity or rationality comes into play. Rationality -- which is responsible for bringing forth dignity -- has an evolutionary origin.


The link to euthanasia here is pretty obvious, once we get this far. If people choose to end their lives, denying this choice would be a violation of their dignity. Similarly, if people are in immense suffering, they are in a state where their human dignity is constantly under assault, and live may not be worth living. Thus, voluntary, and in some extreme cases, non-voluntary euthanasia, is justified. Involuntary euthanasia violates choice, and so is wrong.

How is non-voluntary euthanasia justified in this case?

[Sidenote: I am for euthanasia as well.]


==========

Please feel free to contribute your thoughts here.

+1 this post for generating good discussion.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
bsh1
Posts: 27,503
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 4:43:16 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 4:14:55 AM, tejretics wrote:
At 10/3/2015 7:57:36 PM, bsh1 wrote:
With these points in mind, I can now lay out the basic ethical framework I am going to use to make my case. I think most reasonable people can agree that humans have moral worth; denying this essential premise would make any discussion of ethics fairly pointless, and so for the sake of this series and this post, I am going to assume that. Once we take human worth to be something that exists, we have to ask: why does it exist? Wherefrom does is emerge?

(1) I don't understand what you mean by "moral worth." I don't think there's any intrinsic, objective value ascribed to anything.

As I noted with Envisage, I am going to make some basic assumptions in these posts, and I am not going to view morality as subjective. The reason for this is simple: if every thread about morality degenerates to "morality is subjective!" or "morality doesn't exist!" progress in the conversations is never going to happen, because we'll keep returning to the exact same basic questions over and over again. Thus, I am going to make these assumptions so that we can actually discuss the topic, rather than those kinds of pre-situational dilemmas.

I would also say, in the same vein, that these posts are--by necessity--going to leave some things vague. I don't have the time or energy to explicate in detail all the concepts I use or reference, so I am going to paint things in broad strokes. I want to move beyond rather basic issues of vagueness and address the actual argument though, because while it's an imprecise term, I think you have a basic notion of what I mean.

And I disagree that ethics is impossible sans moral "worth," since ethics is only contingent on right and wrong existing. If A has moral worth, what does it merit? Do you mean the same as moral status?

Tej, if something has no moral worth, that is to say that it is morally insignificant, it does not factor into calculations of right or wrong. A rock has no moral worth and it would be absurd to talk about treating a rock justly, for instance. If people don't have moral worth, than ethical questions are largely pointless for the simple reason that it would never be right or wrong to do anything to other human beings.

(2) Why does it have to have a reason for its existence? Many moral platonists hold that morality doesn't have an origin since it isn't contingent on anything else. Couldn't moral worth be a brute fact?

Again, to broad and pre-situational for me to address here. I want to stay focused on the topic of euthanasia.

The simple answer to the above question is that humans dignity because we are self-determining. A table, for instance, cannot reasonably be said to have dignity, because it cannot make choices. The same thing is true of a bug, or even something more advanced, such as a cow, because the cow is governed by instinct, and cannot choose to override its instincts. The ability to knowingly choose to act morally or immorally, even when our choices go against our natural urges, makes us unique moral agents, as we are perhaps the only entities capable of making moral choices in every situation, even if we fail more often than we succeed. I would also argue that our ability to suffer is part of what makes us morally significant; I would argue that a person able to rationally think, but unable to feel, misses out on the emotional aspects of morality that are intrinsic to it (empathy, guilt, etc.). When suffering is inflicted on us, or when our ability to make choices is curtailed, our dignity is infringed.

So moral worth is contingent on dignity?

I would have put them as more loose synonyms...Not precisely the same, but overlapping. Dignity is perhaps the highest degree of moral worth. A cow has moral worth in that it can feel pain, but the degree to which it can feel pain is less than others as is its ability to make moral choices.

You've merely articulated the premise in multiple ways -- I'm not seeing any justification for this dignity-based framework. I don't buy it.

I did provide it pretty clearly. Morality entails responsibility. For instance, if it is known that "murder is immoral" there is a responsibility, or an obligation, placed on actors to not murder. A table cannot uphold this responsibility because it has no choice and no cognition. A cow might have cognition, but it lacks choice. A human, on the other hand, has the ability to understand the obligation and to choose to (not) act in accordance with it. This makes humans morally unique, and sets them apart from other entities. We can be held responsible for our own decisions. This moral uniqueness is linked to dignity in that depriving us of our decisional capacity reduces us to mere tables or mere cows.

The whole raison d'etre for morality is to prevent suffering and increase happiness/pleasure/liberty.

No, that is a big assumption on your part. Many would disagree. Many would suggest that morality is about living virtuously, even if that increases suffering, or that it about acting in accordance with a set of principles regardless of the outcomes. You assert as fact what is really an opinion.

It follows that if entity X feels pleasure and suffering, it has moral worth. I don't see how dignity or rationality comes into play. Rationality -- which is responsible for bringing forth dignity -- has an evolutionary origin.

What does the evolutionary origin have to do with anything? That just seems like fallacious reasoning: where something came from has little bearing on it's value NOW.

The link to euthanasia here is pretty obvious, once we get this far. If people choose to end their lives, denying this choice would be a violation of their dignity. Similarly, if people are in immense suffering, they are in a state where their human dignity is constantly under assault, and live may not be worth living. Thus, voluntary, and in some extreme cases, non-voluntary euthanasia, is justified. Involuntary euthanasia violates choice, and so is wrong.

How is non-voluntary euthanasia justified in this case?

Someone is incapable of making choices. Thus, medical decisions must be granted to proxies. If proxies consent, then non-voluntary euthanasia is permissible to reduce suffering. More to the point: if you are unable to make choices (ever again), then we can't all sit around dithering and waiting for you to make a choice.

[Sidenote: I am for euthanasia as well.]

Thanks. And while I responded to a lot of your post, I would really appreciate refocusing to euthanasia.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
Yonko
Posts: 227
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 8:38:45 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 4:07:27 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/4/2015 4:02:12 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:49:57 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:33:19 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:23:59 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I never claimed that it did make that leap. This is "The Ethics of" not "The Government Policy of."

But the only difference between "Euthanasia" and "Suicide" is that the latter is government-sanctioned...

That's not the distinction I would've drawn. I would say that euthanasia is administered with medical aid or advice and is humane. Suicide doesn't necessarily entail either of these.

For instance, in a society where euthanasia is illegal, and a doctor kills his terminally ill patient upon request, I would still refer to that act as euthanasia despite it's not being sanctioned by the government.

I would refer to that act as murder...

In a strictly legal sense, yes, it's homicide. But, in a more colloquial since, it is also euthanasia.

society's standards form the context for morality, and those standards are reflected in laws.

Standards are always up for debate,

I agree. Perhaps it is objectively true that governments should legalize euthanasia... however proving that would require precisely the policy discussion which you are trying to avoid here.

and laws do not always conform with society's morality. Outdated laws, powerful minority lobbies, autocratic interests, can shape laws in a way that is different from the majority's more values.

We would have to assume that the hypothetical government being discussed here is a "just" one, since laws are the only means society has through which its moral standards can be enforced.


Simply being a medical professional doesn't grant any sort of special moral privilege - only the government and society at large can grant that.

I never said that being a medical professional granted moral privilege. I said that medical advice or aid is part of what euthanasia is. And I don't buy that the government is the arbiter of moral privilege. In this case, it is the patient, through their autonomous decision, that--on a moral level--conveys the privilege.

So in other words, you would consider it to be ethical for some random guy to start a business where terminally ill patients come and pay him to get shot? Your definition of euthanasia applies to all consensual mercy killings, which I think most people would agree should generally be considered murders. In order for euthanasia to be considered anything more than murder, medical professionals must be granted a special license to kill-with-consent by the government (and society as a whole, by extension). Discussion of this topic *must* cover the involvement of the state in the process.
bsh1
Posts: 27,503
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 7:30:39 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 8:38:45 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 4:07:27 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/4/2015 4:02:12 AM, Yonko wrote:
Simply being a medical professional doesn't grant any sort of special moral privilege - only the government and society at large can grant that.

I never said that being a medical professional granted moral privilege. I said that medical advice or aid is part of what euthanasia is. And I don't buy that the government is the arbiter of moral privilege. In this case, it is the patient, through their autonomous decision, that--on a moral level--conveys the privilege.

So in other words, you would consider it to be ethical for some random guy to start a business where terminally ill patients come and pay him to get shot?

Why not?

Your definition of euthanasia applies to all consensual mercy killings, which I think most people would agree should generally be considered murders.

Not really. I wouldn't describe those as murders. I would describe that as euthanasia. I'd like to see it done by or on the advice of medical professionals to make sure it is done correctly and with as little pain as possible.

In order for euthanasia to be considered anything more than murder, medical professionals must be granted a special license to kill-with-consent by the government (and society as a whole, by extension).

Again, I think there is a difference between what is legally murder and what is ethically murder. You are mistaken in that you think, for euthanasia to be ethical, it must be under government auspices. I think that conflates morality and legality far too much.

Discussion of this topic *must* cover the involvement of the state in the process.

No, it doesn't have to. What is legal is different from what is ethical.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
Yonko
Posts: 227
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 7:55:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 7:30:39 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/4/2015 8:38:45 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 4:07:27 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/4/2015 4:02:12 AM, Yonko wrote:
Simply being a medical professional doesn't grant any sort of special moral privilege - only the government and society at large can grant that.

I never said that being a medical professional granted moral privilege. I said that medical advice or aid is part of what euthanasia is. And I don't buy that the government is the arbiter of moral privilege. In this case, it is the patient, through their autonomous decision, that--on a moral level--conveys the privilege.

So in other words, you would consider it to be ethical for some random guy to start a business where terminally ill patients come and pay him to get shot?

Why not?

Oh. Well that's an entirely different issue then. You think that people should be able to sell off their own right to life as long as it is through a consensual transaction? In other words, that the right to life should be treated as a property right? I think your own argument against self-ownership applies here:

"Selling myself into slavery, even if it wasn't uncoerced, still invalidates self-ownership. Self-ownership is the idea that we inherently own ourselves and are always our own owners. I cannot give up my self-ownership, because it is innate within me. If I always own myself, than no one else can own me--my right to self-ownership is inviolate... This creates a logical contradiction within Con's framework: if I own myself, I can sell myself, but yet, self-ownership says I can't do that." [http://www.debate.org...]

Similarly, having such an absolute right to ownership over your life is paradoxical because it would simultaneously allow and prohibit giving up that right.
bsh1
Posts: 27,503
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 8:01:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 7:55:50 PM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 7:30:39 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/4/2015 8:38:45 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 4:07:27 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/4/2015 4:02:12 AM, Yonko wrote:
Simply being a medical professional doesn't grant any sort of special moral privilege - only the government and society at large can grant that.

I never said that being a medical professional granted moral privilege. I said that medical advice or aid is part of what euthanasia is. And I don't buy that the government is the arbiter of moral privilege. In this case, it is the patient, through their autonomous decision, that--on a moral level--conveys the privilege.

So in other words, you would consider it to be ethical for some random guy to start a business where terminally ill patients come and pay him to get shot?

Why not?

Oh. Well that's an entirely different issue then. You think that people should be able to sell off their own right to life as long as it is through a consensual transaction? In other words, that the right to life should be treated as a property right? I think your own argument against self-ownership applies here:

Lol...You're putting words in my mouth and I think you know that. Not once did I mention self-ownership or property rights. Firstly, life is not a property right. But, I recognize that some lives are not worth living and have no chance of improvement: terminally ill patients, particularly those in unremitting pain fit this description. The justification I would give for the above action is not one based on some ill-conceived ideal of self-ownership. I would simply say (a) they're going to die anyway, and (b) killing them now reduces the suffering/loss of dignity they're going to endure, and so it better respects them as individuals to allow them to seek death. Secondly, the transaction above is not what you think it is. The patient is not selling their life, they are buying a means to end it. That is a noticeable distinction.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
Yonko
Posts: 227
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 8:46:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 8:01:42 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/4/2015 7:55:50 PM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 7:30:39 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/4/2015 8:38:45 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 4:07:27 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/4/2015 4:02:12 AM, Yonko wrote:
Simply being a medical professional doesn't grant any sort of special moral privilege - only the government and society at large can grant that.

I never said that being a medical professional granted moral privilege. I said that medical advice or aid is part of what euthanasia is. And I don't buy that the government is the arbiter of moral privilege. In this case, it is the patient, through their autonomous decision, that--on a moral level--conveys the privilege.

So in other words, you would consider it to be ethical for some random guy to start a business where terminally ill patients come and pay him to get shot?

Why not?

Oh. Well that's an entirely different issue then. You think that people should be able to sell off their own right to life as long as it is through a consensual transaction? In other words, that the right to life should be treated as a property right? I think your own argument against self-ownership applies here:

Lol...You're putting words in my mouth and I think you know that. Not once did I mention self-ownership or property rights. Firstly, life is not a property right. But, I recognize that some lives are not worth living and have no chance of improvement: terminally ill patients, particularly those in unremitting pain fit this description. The justification I would give for the above action is not one based on some ill-conceived ideal of self-ownership. I would simply say (a) they're going to die anyway, and (b) killing them now reduces the suffering/loss of dignity they're going to endure, and so it better respects them as individuals to allow them to seek death. Secondly, the transaction above is not what you think it is. The patient is not selling their life, they are buying a means to end it. That is a noticeable distinction.

Right, I forgot about your addendum about limiting euthanasia to the terminally-ill. You and your caveats...

That brings us back to the objections brought up earlier regarding equality. Selectively allowing euthanasia like that is unfair to the terminally-ill because it treats their lives as uniquely expendable. It is also unfair to everyone else: why should only terminally-ill people be allowed to have the right to end their lives like that? Who are you to decide that only terminally-ill people have lives which are potentially "not worth living"? Life is supposed to have intrinsic value, rather than instrumental value. To deny this premise is to deny the meta-ethical foundation for the concept of equal moral worth. Either everyone's lives should be considered intrinsically expendable or no one's should be. It isn't ethical to grant only a single group of people the right to euthanasia based on the flawed, subjective "instrumental" view of human moral worth.

If euthanasia is permissible for everyone, then it is subject to the first objection I brought up in this thread (regarding how suicide is generally unethical via consequentialist reasoning)

I think that at this point I've tried almost every argument against euthanasia there is...
And most of them have fallen flat because of caveats in your advocacy.
Fkkize
Posts: 2,147
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/4/2015 8:53:08 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/3/2015 7:57:36 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Aloha!

I will try to make these "The Ethics of..." posts once a week for the next four weeks. I am willing to take recommendations for topics. In these posts I will briefly discuss an issue of ethics and explain my position on the subject. While I am always open to discussing my reasoning, I am also interested in hearing about your own thoughts on the subject, apart from what my stance is.

===============

This week I will be discussing the subject of euthanasia, which has been a prominent and heated source of debate in bioethics for generations. Before I launch into my thoughts on the subject, however, it may pay to discuss precisely what euthanasia is. Euthanasia, or the humane ending of a life, has many variants. Involuntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who chooses not to be killed. Non-voluntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who cannot choose, and voluntary euthanasia is the killing of someone who chooses to be killed. Passive euthanasia is killing through withholding care, and active euthanasia is killing through positive action.

With these points in mind, I can now lay out the basic ethical framework I am going to use to make my case. I think most reasonable people can agree that humans have moral worth; denying this essential premise would make any discussion of ethics fairly pointless, and so for the sake of this series and this post, I am going to assume that. Once we take human worth to be something that exists, we have to ask: why does it exist? Wherefrom does is emerge?

The simple answer to the above question is that humans dignity because we are self-determining. A table, for instance, cannot reasonably be said to have dignity, because it cannot make choices. The same thing is true of a bug, or even something more advanced, such as a cow, because the cow is governed by instinct, and cannot choose to override its instincts. The ability to knowingly choose to act morally or immorally, even when our choices go against our natural urges, makes us unique moral agents, as we are perhaps the only entities capable of making moral choices in every situation, even if we fail more often than we succeed. I would also argue that our ability to suffer is part of what makes us morally significant; I would argue that a person able to rationally think, but unable to feel, misses out on the emotional aspects of morality that are intrinsic to it (empathy, guilt, etc.). When suffering is inflicted on us, or when our ability to make choices is curtailed, our dignity is infringed.

The link to euthanasia here is pretty obvious, once we get this far. If people choose to end their lives, denying this choice would be a violation of their dignity. Similarly, if people are in immense suffering, they are in a state where their human dignity is constantly under assault, and live may not be worth living. Thus, voluntary, and in some extreme cases, non-voluntary euthanasia, is justified. Involuntary euthanasia violates choice, and so is wrong.

Great post! I am very exited for the following ones.

I agree with your conclusions, although for different reasons and have nothing to add really.

My suggestions for coming weeks would be environmental ethics, animal ethics and the ethics of giving to the poor (not sure if there is a better name, basically how much, if at all, should we help the worlds neediest people)
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic