Euthanasia - Would you support it?
#1
A little background on euthanasia.

I am undecided on unconditionally supporting it as I see some possibilities of misuse. In a mature society, it shouldn't be a problem, but we are far from it. One case where I fully support it is for when one is terminally ill where quality of life is already at its lowest and cannot improve any further.
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#2
(30-Nov-2010, 10:31 PM)Lije Wrote: A little background on euthanasia.

I am undecided on unconditionally supporting it as I see some possibilities of misuse. In a mature society, it shouldn't be a problem, but we are far from it. One case where I fully support it is for when one is terminally ill where quality of life is already at its lowest and cannot improve any further.

Some immediate philosophical questions are:

1) For a social consensus to emerge on euthanasia, first of all, a consensus measure of human well-being (and concomitantly, a measure of suffering) must emerge. It is only then that it will be possible to declare that 'quality of life is already at its lowest'. I wish Michael Sandel had delivered a lecture on this.This lecture introduces the utilitarian yardstick to measure human well-being. Religious faith of all hues, would oppose such a consensus, given the ideas in most faiths about the 'regenerative and cathartic value of suffering' and hence their rejection of the idea that suffering by definition implies a low state of human well-being and their claim that it is a blessing in disguise instead.

2) Is the claim that Life is sacrosanct (and hence its sanctity overrides any other human concern), compatible with Cultural Naturalism? I ask because, in most faiths, 'extra-natural' sanctity is accorded to Life; and at first sight it does seem that Cultural Naturalism would not encourage a kind of exceptionalism to forbid intervention in Life, a natural phenomenon like any other. I will be glad to stand corrected on this.
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#3
(30-Nov-2010, 10:31 PM)Lije Wrote: A little background on euthanasia.

I am undecided on unconditionally supporting it as I see some possibilities of misuse. In a mature society, it shouldn't be a problem, but we are far from it. One case where I fully support it is for when one is terminally ill where quality of life is already at its lowest and cannot improve any further.

I'm definitely in the for camp on euthanasia, but of course like all such delicate subjects we must be clear in defining what criteria we impose on it. The fact is that simply disallowing euthanasia results in a high number of people dying prolonged and painful deaths, as well as in a number of poorly executed cases (often causing additional pain) done illegally. We must begin to accept the idea that assisted suicide is a moral thing in certain circumstances. The problem is that, like in all cases regarding social issues, people tend to think in black and white when it comes to debating euthanasia, which prevents a fact-based discussion on where on the slippery slope we can rationally come to rest.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#4
I am for it (in a mature society). Where do I sign? smile

PBS had done a nice program on this a while ago..
FRONTLINE The Suicide Tourist
http://video.pbs.org/video/1430431984/

PS:
Thanks for the Harvard link, Arvind. Looks very interesting.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has - Margaret Mead
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#5
(30-Nov-2010, 11:21 PM)arvindiyer Wrote: 1) For a social consensus to emerge on euthanasia, first of all, a consensus measure of human well-being (and concomitantly, a measure of suffering) must emerge. It is only then that it will be possible to declare that 'quality of life is already at its lowest'. I wish Michael Sandel had delivered a lecture on this.This lecture introduces the utilitarian yardstick to measure human well-being. Religious faith of all hues, would oppose such a consensus, given the ideas in most faiths about the 'regenerative and cathartic value of suffering' and hence their rejection of the idea that suffering by definition implies a low state of human well-being and their claim that it is a blessing in disguise instead.

Brilliant lectures, thanks for the link. I look forward to watching the other parts as well smile

Quote:2) Is the claim that Life is sacrosanct (and hence its sanctity overrides any other human concern), compatible with Cultural Naturalism? I ask because, in most faiths, 'extra-natural' sanctity is accorded to Life; and at first sight it does seem that Cultural Naturalism would not encourage a kind of exceptionalism to forbid intervention in Life, a natural phenomenon like any other. I will be glad to stand corrected on this.

I venture that the claim is not compatible with Cultural Naturalism, but depending on the meaning of the words. All value claims are 'extra-natural' in a sense, but the associated fact-claims should not be. Under the latter criteria, there is no valid reason for any exceptionalism on the nature of life. If exceptionalism in form (nature of life) was claimed as an argument for exceptionalism in value, then it is a violation of Scientific Naturalism and therefore of Cultural Naturalism. In any case, most people who argue that life is sacrosanct will be found ready to impose strict conditions on which forms of life are sacrosanct. At any practically relevant level of discussion such claims as those made by the true believers serve only as semantic games designed to stifle such discussion. The value of life can only possibly be assessed in particular contexts where particular sets of values are in contention.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#6
I have been a big fan of Jack Kevorkian ever since i heard about him. I personally think he has the highest standards of medical ethics.
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