Differing decisions on life issues occur when reasonable minds hold opinions concerning life that cannot all be true. What propels rational well educated, somewhat intelligent with a good perspective not exceedingly neurotic philosophers into disagreements is the fact that sometimes-reasonable minds tend to push subjective facts to appear as objective matters. This has brought about diverse solutions to life problems and a sea of disputes regarding these solutions as others do not regard most of them as the right way forward. From non-important issues such as food preferences to life issues such as abortion, rational individuals have engaged in unending debates over what is morally right and acceptable to all human beings.
In the mercy killing debate, for instance, intelligent minds as well as learned people have scrutinized the similar facts and have all come up with differing conclusions. The basis of their stand on the whole mercy killing or euthanasia is what brings about the opposing views on how to handle the subject matter. One party’s position is centered on the right to life and the possibility that euthanasia is a form of murder. The opposing party bases their decision on the fact that life is meant to be lived without excruciating pain and thus prefers to end the lives of those who seem to be incapable of getting well.
What informs people stand regardless of the law is the conscience? Doctors over the years have been requested by patients to end their lives in places were voluntary euthanasia has been legalized. In this case life is ended in a painless manner through what is referred to as Physician assisted suicide although the patient plays an active role towards the ending his or her life. States that uphold mercy killing reason that the pain experienced by an individual with a life threatening disease cannot be physically explained expect by the person going through that predicament. Thus their life ending could be made more tolerable through assisted suicide. Moreover, hospital resources being used by these individuals could be used by others who have hope for living. On the other hand, those in opposition to this form of reasoning state that euthanasia is against the role of medical practitioners which is geared toward bringing health and saving life. More specifically, euthanasia is against the Hippocratic Oath which all medical practitioners swear to and which subjects them to work toward saving lives and not terminating it. What informs the conscience is what consequently results to which opinion any learned individual will settle on. For instance, people whose lives are governed by faith will be against mercy killing. This is because religious beliefs perceive life to be sacred and given by a higher being who is the only one with the power to end it. Thus, another human being has no power to determine when and how someone should live.
Moreover, since voluntary euthanasia is what is legally accepted, then it should be done in the full knowledge of the individual whose life is being terminated. This is not always the case as many of those who have perished as a result of mercy killing were in life supporting machines in conditions referred to as a vegetable state. In addition to this, critics have postulated that most of the time, patients who give in to euthanasia are usually under psychological pressure as they do not want to burden their relatives with huge financial responsibilities (Thompson, 2007).
According to health practitioners, mercy killing has brought with it various ethical issues. Some physicians claim that mercy killing is a coherent choice for competent patients who prefer death in order to break away from unbearable suffering whilst others perceive assisting patients to die opposes the duty of a physician which is to preserve life. Those in support claim that it is a patient’s right to decide the quality of their life at the very least the patient gets ample time to bid his or her relatives farewell and to get organized as opposed to sudden deaths that may occur with patients who still hope to live.
When it comes to the theory of consequentialism on morality is that any action should bring about the right kind of consequence. Therefore, morality is not concerned with spreading happiness or relieving suffering, neither is it about creating freedom in the world or enhancing the survival of species. Even though the aforementioned facets concerning the theory matter in some level of reason, the most important point is that the consequences of an action is all that matters whenever that action has been carried out. Thus, consequentialism concerns itself with doing what is expected of a human being that is, respecting rights, conserving nature, respecting all people as well as being reasonable. According plain consequentialism, the morally right deed is the one that will result in the greatest overall consequences. However, this theory does not specify exactly which outcomes are good thereby letting bringing about disagreements over that the good and the bad consequence (Perruci, 2005).
In the case of mercy killing, those who purport it to be wrong, find the overall good to be letting life continue or nature take its cause regardless of the pain being felt as man does not have the power to terminate life. According to Plato, who is famous for coining in dualism, human beings are not only made of the body but the soul and spirit which are contained within the body. Upon the death of an individual, their body disintegrates back to natural elements while the soul and Spirit become free. Many religious groups have founded their beliefs against mercy killing on these grounds that man is not only the physical body. Hinduism for instance, believe that upon the death of an individual, he or she comes back as another form a process known as reincarnation as such they hold animal and human life as sacred and preserve it at any cost.
Plato also believed in individuals possessing multiple souls which would migrate to a novel physical body upon the death of an individual and that the soul was independent of the physical body (Smith, 2009). In relation to mercy killing, the removal of the body leaves behind the souls with which human beings have no control over. Substance dualism however, contrasts with this stating that there are two types of substances which are the mental and the material. The mental substance does not have an extension in space while the material substance cannot think. This form of dualism has been linked to religions that believe in the existence of an independent realm that is quite different from the physical world.
However, according to interactionism, our mental states, our beliefs as well as desires casually interact with our physical state. This supposition appeals really well to common sense. For example when a child touches a hot piece wood and gets burned which can be equated to a physical event, he will feel pain which is the mental event this interactions serve as empirical proves of logical arguments that make sense on everyday living. Thus, inasmuch as euthanasia stands to be condemned by some forms of dualism, it is through the correlation of the physical and the mental mind that patients get to base their decisions on living under painful circumstances. Their inability to withstand pain serves as a liberating way into a pain free life
When it comes to epiphenomenalism any mental activity is a result of a physical event and possesses no physical consequences (Goodling, 2010). Moreover, mental states cannot influence the physical state. Meaning patients who give in to mercy killing have full consent to when they decide to terminate their lives because their conscious is already in the decisive mode thus nothing can convince it further. The doctrine of parallelism opposes this stand by claiming physical and mental actions are controlled by a higher power in this instance being God who has created harmony amid physical and mental events.
Goodling, M. (2010). Smart, Materialism and Believing. Philosophy Journal , 5 (2), 45.
Perruci, K. (2005). The Self and Its Brain. Journal of Philosophy , 44 (3), 23.
Smith, R. (2009). Philosophy behind Mercy Killing. Philosophy Encyclopedia , 23 (4), 23.
Thompson, J. (2007). Philosophy of Mind. Philosophy , 30 (6), 34.