Applying Ethical Systems Example Essay

Applying Ethical Systems Essay

The selected moral issue is euthanasia, and the ethical theory is Kantian ethics. Euthanasia pertains to matters of life and death when a patient is suffering from a chronic and severe health condition. Kantian ethics can be utilized in the discussion about the morality of the topic. The aim of the paper is to discuss the moral issue selected, claims by each opposing potion, the normative ethical theory selected, and the application of the theory in providing detailed arguments supporting the position on the moral issue. The Kantian theory will be utilized to provide a detailed argument supporting euthanasia.

A Selected Moral Issue Involving an Ethical Dilemma

Euthanasia has been a controversial topic in many countries and among professionals and individuals since its inception. Euthanasia involves hastening the death of terminally ill patients or those experiencing excruciating pain (Budić, 2018). Euthanasians can be passive or active. Passive euthanasia involves hastening the death of a person by withdrawing medical support allowing the patient to die naturally. Active Euthanasia, on the other hand, involves causing the death of a person through direct action at the request of the person. The issue involving the right to death with dignity is linked to ethics and morals. The topic raises various agonizing moral dilemmas that include whether it is right to end the life of a terminally ill patient suffering severe pain, under what circumstances euthanasia should be justified, and what moral difference exists between letting someone die and killing someone. On the one hand, Euthanasia is viewed as ethical as it involves the patient having the right to choose when and the preferred means of dying. On the other hand, the act is morally wrong since it is against the right to life and against the ethical principle that requires healthcare professionals not to cause harm to patients (McKinnon & Orellana-Barrios, 2019).

Claims Made by Each Opposing Position on the Selected Moral Issue

Arguments for euthanasia are based on the view that human beings have the right to decide when and how to die, and the act provides an opportunity for individuals to die with dignity. According to Banović et al. (2017), the stand is based on the view that life has meaning when the brain is operational. In severe pain and medical situation, the dignity of the patient is at risk. Individuals in support of euthanasia argue that death is a private matter that should be left to the individuals to make choices. The will of the patient surpasses the wishes of the doctors and legislators; hence no laws should limit the wishes of the patient. Other views include that euthanasia would save family and friends from the pain of seeing loved one suffering, and the act would release precious resources to people with chances of living.

Those supporting euthanasia and PAS are mostly in the sphere of religion and philosophy, and the main reason for the act being morally wrong is the assertion that human life is sacred and cannot and must not be taken. Another reason is the concern that it is a slippery slope, and if the act is made legal, there would be an abuse of the law leading to people being killed against their will. Allowing euthanasia would weaken society’s respect for the value of human life. The opposers of euthanasia bypass the debate on the reasons leading to killing through ADE and fails to put the accent on life’s quality and content.

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A Normative Ethical Theory to Be Utilized in Argument for My Position on the Moral Issue

Kantian ethics refers to a set of moral principles which applies to human beings irrespective of the situation or context. Kant proposed a moral known as the categorical imperative, which states that morality is derived from rationality (Wolemonwu, 2020). According to Kant, the motive of action and not the consequence determines the moral value. Kant advocates for a stern notion of morality, an aspect that demands that virtue is universal. To be ethical and moral, one has to ensure they do not treat others as means to a greater end since the virtue of the unique ability of humans to reason makes them different from other forms of physical existence. Freedom and autonomy are major elements of ethical theory. Kant views freedom as something of making or free capacity for choice. Autonomy, on the other hand, is the ability to decide and execute a course of action regardless of any moral content (Wolemonwu, 2020).

Detailed Arguments to Support Your Position on the Moral Issue

I believe that patients should have the right to decide how and when they should die. Euthanasia should, however, be applied in situations where the patient has the capacity to make a rational decision. To argue for euthanasia based on Kant’s ethics, it is important to consider Kant’s views on rationality, honor, and rationality. Although Kant was against suicide, he acknowledged that there were exceptions when it come to the honor and dignity of human life (Budić, 2018). Kant asserts that human beings must be viewed be inherently worthy and respect dignity. I consider euthanasia to be such as exception. All humans have a duty centered on respecting the humanity of others.

From Kant’s view of autonomy, the patient has the autonomy to decide when and how to die. Restricting euthanasia is denying the patient their autonomy to make a critical decision. The autonomy, however, applies when the patient has the capacity to make a rational decision. This limits the extent of my support for euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia is a way of granting the patient autonomy, while involuntary euthanasia may present an opportunity that limits the autonomy of the patient as euthanasia may be applied against their will. Additional precautions should be taken to limit misuse of morality in cases where patients lack the capacity to communicate their stand. This can be achieved by putting a requirement of a presentation of a written will of the patient as evidence that the patient is exercising their autonomy.


The view that euthanasia should be morally and ethically right influences my behavior, especially when dealing with sick people and their families. The view tends to influence communication on the topic with other people. I can tolerate their views since I believe that euthanasia is more about having a personal choice, and I respect the autonomy of others. I also tend to withhold from issuing any form of advice that would influence the choice of other people as I regard all choices in honor and dignity of human life. I have learned to show compassion to all people despite their choice in matters of life and death.


Banović, B., Turanjanin, V., & Miloradović, A. (2017). An ethical review of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Iranian Journal of Public Health46(2), 173.

Budić, M. (2018). Suicide, euthanasia, and the duty to die: A Kantian Approach to Euthanasia Filozofija I društvo29(1), 88-114.

McKinnon, B., & Orellana-Barrios, M. (2019). Ethics in physician-assisted dying and euthanasia. The Southwest Respiratory and Critical Care Chronicles7(30), 36-42.

Wolemonwu, V. C. (2020). Richard Dean: The Value of Humanity in Kant’s Moral Theory. Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy23(2), 221-226.