Voluntary Euthanasia: the Moraluty of Right to Die

Today in a wood, we heard a voice. We haunted for it but could not find it. Adam said he had heard it before, but had never seen it… it was Lord of the Garden, he said, and it had said we must not eat of the fruit of a certain tree and that if we ate of it we would surely die. . .  Adam said it was the tree of good and evil.

“Good and evil?”


“What is that?”

“What is what?”

“Why, those things. What is good?”

“I do not know. How should I know?”

“Well, then, what is evil?”

“I suppose it is the name of something, but I do not know what.”

“But, Adam, you must have some idea of what it is.”

“Why should I have some idea? I have never seen the thing, how am I to form any conception of it? What is your own notion of it?”

Of course I had none, and it was unreasonable of me to require him to have one. There was no way for either of us to guess what it might be. It was a new word, like the other; we had not heard them before, and they meant nothing to us. Mark Twain.

How do we really know what’s right and wrong? How do we differentiate good from evil? How we ought to live and behave morally?  These are the utterly necessary and ought to be asked more often because nobody wants to be criticized and we are blinded by the standards set in our society. The idea of right and wrong, good and evil achieved dominance over the different religions, cultures and societies since time immemorial. Studying ethics broaden our knowledge and understanding as to what is good and bad. Morality plays a vital role in determining what is right and wrong. This serves as our guidance in making choices and decisions regarding on what’s right and wrong.

“Morality served as the foundation of every human society.” Herskovits define morality in the book of taking Sides: clashing views on controversial moral issues that, “morality has no absolute identity and that it is a social and cultural phenomenon that varies according to the customs and beliefs of different cultural groups.” It is also a “general term for an individual’s or society’s standard of conduct, both actual and ideal, and of the character traits that determine whether people are considered ‘good’ or ‘bad’.” Custom shape us all, our moral aspects, traditions, values, and most convictions. These are the aftermath of diverse cultures and places where we are born. Fernandez, Grumo and Reambonanza asserted that, morality of an individual, “is now a common and well-accepted belief that culture plays a very influential and crucial role in the development and formation of one’s moral character.” In fact, throughout history there are some societies that held beliefs that culture and morality are inseparable.

Other person see morality as a set of rules that determine what you ought and ought not to do. In fact, this is our guiding principle, this will serve as our path in doing what is right and required. In a moral sense, it is normal to deal with the interests of others, but this is not necessary. It provides quality that recognize and discern the right action from wrong. Morality by its very definition is justified by our own interests or well-being but also moral reason is a matter over social reasons, first as an outcome, we can overcome social causes, showing that it’s immorality. Ethical authority, no matter how powerful, doesn’t belong to any specific person.

According to Kant in the book of Morality and The Good Life, morality is concerned with reason and universality. Rationality means roughly the ability to think and to act according to reasoned principles. People can use mind to make theoretical and practical conclusions about ethical issues. Now, we are in the midst of social change. The once greatly deep-rooted ancient values and institutions are currently losing its grip to the more modern and liberal concepts. Change dispatch continuity. Even our absolute belief that physicians are trained to heal an individual is currently in a transitional stage.

In the present, with the rapid development of innovation and the recent advances in the medical technology, it have saved countless lives all over the world. Now the patient can live longer than the time after which they would have died naturally. This is an excellent success story for medicine, but how successful is it? Medical technology has undoubtedly made an incredible impact on medicinal industry. Demarco et al writes, “Improving quality of life is one of the main benefits of integrating new innovations into medicine. Medical technologies like minimally-invasive surgeries, better monitoring systems, and more comfortable scanning equipment are allowing patients to spend less time in recovery and more time enjoying a healthy life.”

There are still unethical practice in medicine in spite of how successful it is. There are circumstances where physicians commit mistakes regarding on making decisions that are deemed to be ‘wrong’ and ‘bad’. It is a fact that physicians’ faces moral dilemmas in the world of medical practice and they need to make ethical decisions every day. The issue about life and death continues from generation to generation. It didn’t cease. Moral dilemmas in medicine is not new to us. It has been discussed and debated for years.

Euthanasia is one of the highly controversial subject which causes debates around the world for years. It’s a life and death issue, but this time the person who would die would not be regarded as a criminal. Voluntary euthanasia is when an individual wanted to die. According to Bmuir, voluntary euthanasia, “provides the terminally ill with the gift of a dignified end and their families an escape from the nightmare of a prolonged, traumatic and harrowing death of a loved one.” It also pertains to a rational person who requested and give his consent to the doctors to withhold his treatment that will lead to death. This issue raised moral dilemmas not just to the physicians but also to the patients, families and to moral philosophers. These dilemmas “have become particularly acute and complex.”


  1. Robert Solomon & Jennifer Greene, “Morality and the Good Life: An Introduction to Ethics through Classical Sources”, McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., United Sates of America, 1999. See Mark Twain, “Eve’s Diary”, from Letters from the Earth. New York: Harper & Row, 1974, pp. 75-76.
  2. Apolinar Henry Fernandez, Emmanuel Grumo and Eric Reambonanza, “Ethics: Deciding What’s Right & Wrong”, Davao City: smkc PrintShoppe, 2018,p. 5.
  3. Stephen Satris, “Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Moral Issues,” United States of America: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, 2006.
  4. Carol Levine, “Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Bioethical Issues,” New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2010.
  5. Robert Solomon & Jennifer Greene, “Morality and the Good Life: An Introduction to ethics through Classical Sources”, United States of America: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1999.
  6. Marvin Sambajon Jr., “Health Care Ethics,” Quezon City: C & E Publishing, Inc., 2007.
  7. Douglas Birsch, “Ethical Insights: A Brief Introduction,” United States of America: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2002.
  8. Demarco et al, “Medical Technology,” Health Care Business and Technology, 2016.
  9. Gwen Adshead, “The Doctors Dilemma: Is it ever good to do harm?”, 2017
  10. www.euthanasia.com/definition.html [accessed 11 March 2019]
  11. Judith Boss, “Analyzing Moral Issues,” New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008
  12. Ian Harriss, “Ethics and euthanasia: natural law philosophy and latent utilitarianism,” 2005
07 April 2022
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