End Of Life And Ethics

Submitted By mtoliverjr
Words: 2100
Pages: 9

Running Head: END OF LIFE 1

End of Life and Ethics
Moses H Toliver Jr
PHI 208
Prof. Rustin, Terry
March 17, 2014

Running Head: END OF LIFE 2

From the beginning of man’s history the subject of right and wrong has perplexed us, hence the study of ethics. One of the most famous and quite possibly the most widely read book of all time “The Holy Bible” features tales of not only of how our society came to be, but how we should strive to be. Many scholars of ethics have referenced biblical stories in their works, one of the most infamous quotes from this classic “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”(Genesis 2:15-17 English Standard Version). This is ironic because more people have died in the name of right and wrong in regards to religion, morals, and ethics than for any other subject; sadly this continues even today. As humans we are given the ability to reason between what is right and what is wrong. Often this proves difficult to find the distinction between the two; perhaps this is why scholars study ethical theories. Utilitarianism, Deontology and Virtue Ethics are all ethical theories which basic principles focus on good will, morality and the benefit for the masses. Despite the similarities of these theories, each have very different practices. It is unknown whether or not the practices of each theory may benefit the masses of terminally ill people around the globe whom suffer from incurable and painful conditions, knowing death is all but certain. Unfortunately along with the many things designed to enhance a person’s life there has also been an overwhelming emergence of life debilitating or terminal diseases such as Cancers, Alzheimer’s disease and AIDS. People deemed terminally ill should be allowed to end their lives with dignity; instead of clinging to a meager existence and suffering.
Running Head: END OF LIFE 3
That is a question many doctors are uncomfortable with answering, the question of when does a person have the right to die and end the pain. In America people are given three basic rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness the mention of right to death is omitted. This is coincides with words from author Robert Nozick’s words in “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” (1974). In this Nozick writes “Individuals have rights, and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating these rights)” (pg ix). Most people take into account that a person might wish to invoke the right to death. Typically when speaking the right to death is brought up, the person is referring to euthanasia