Critical Thinking and Argument Essay Example

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Critical Thinking and Argument: Is Euthanasia Wrong?

750 word Reflection

  • What do you believe?/What is your opinion?

I do believe that euthanasia is helpful to people who are sick, in great pain and that their chances of survival are extremely slim if any. Therefore, my opinion is that euthanasia is not wrong.

  • What about the terms/definitions? Are they clear? What kind of problems or ambiguities could arise here?

There are a number of terms associated with euthanasia, which include active euthanasia, Do Not Resuscitate (DNR), Doctrine of Double Effect, involuntary euthanasia, living will, non-voluntary euthanasia, palliative care, passive euthanasia and voluntary euthanasia. All these are types of euthanasia. Active euthanasia occurs when a person, such as a doctor, causes the death of a suffering patient deliberately. This could be in response to assisted suicide, competence or because of dignity (BBC). DNR occurs when a doctor fails or instructs his team not to resuscitate a critically suffering patient especially patients suffering from heart attack (BBC). In the Doctrine of Double Effect scenario, the doctor uses drugs that shorten the life of a critically ailing patient in order to reduce pain being undergone by the patient. This could occur in the form of futile treatment or indirect euthanasia (BBC).

Involuntary euthanasia occurs when a doctor kills a suffering patient, who did not want to die while a living will euthanasia occurs when a doctor implements the will of a suffering patient that the patient had prepared when in sound condition and which gives the doctor the go-ahead with euthanasia (BBC). Non-voluntary euthanasia occurs when another person other than the patient makes euthanasia decision on behalf of the patent, for example a family member, mainly because the patient is not in a position to make such a decision (BBC).

Palliative care is also a type of euthanasia because caregivers (spiritual, medical or psychosocial) give care to a terminally ill patient with the aim of reducing suffering instead of curing the patient (BBC). Passive euthanasia occurs when the doctor does not cause death directly by, for example, administering a drug that shortens life or causes death immediately, but by omission (withholding or withdrawing treatment) such that the suffering patient dies naturally. Finally, voluntary euthanasia is whereby the doctor implements euthanasia (of any type) at the request of the patient (BBC).

Some of these terms are clear while in others, the distinction line is extremely slim. For example, there seems to be no difference between palliative care and passive euthanasia because in any case, the care giver or doctor is not giving medication to cure the patient, but allows the patient to die naturally. There seems to be no difference between active euthanasia and all the other types because in any case, the caregiver or patient knows what he or she is doing (that of causing patient death immediately or slowly).

Lack of clarity in these terms could result to difficulties in arguing whether euthanasia is good or bad. For instance, euthanasia is usually considered a general term that has the meaning of ending the life of a suffering patient. However, in the real sense, there are various types of euthanasia. When arguing for or against euthanasia, arguments should be based on specific types of euthanasia. However, since there is lack of clarity in the types of euthanasia, it will be extremely difficult to argue for or against specific types of euthanasia, as well as euthanasia, in general.

  • Why do you hold this opinion? What are your main reasons for thinking this way?

There are two reasons behind my argument for euthanasia and the consideration that it is not wrong. Firstly, suffering is not the desire for any person; therefore, if a person is seriously suffering, it makes no sense to let the person undergo unbearable pain especially if it is clear the pain will never cease. Secondly, some diseases are incurable especially when they get to advanced stages. If a person is in advanced stage of a disease, continuing with treatment will only cost money without any improvement. In such cases, euthanasia is okay.

  • Are these main claims easy to understand? Do they rely on common knowledge? Or are theyunusual and rely on implicit ideas or background?

I think that my claims are easily understandable and that they require common knowledge to understand. People understand what is pain and suffering and it will not be difficult for them to understand why there is nothing wrong with ending the life of a person who is critically ill and undergoing serious pain and suffering.

  • What supporting evidence would/could you give for these views?

Some diseases are incurable especially when they get to advanced stages, such as cancer. This is clearly the reason why we have palliative care centers, which, as earlier seen, are centers for carrying out euthanasia. There is no need to prolong suffering by administering or using mechanisms that will only help the person breathe for longer yet under serious pain yet the person will not be productive.

  • Do You think Your Reasons Are Good Ones? Could You make Your argument Stronger?

I think that my arguments are strong. However, there are always opportunities of making arguments stronger. In the early days, there was no medicine or medical practices aimed at curing diseases. Since failure to administer drugs is still a type of euthanasia, there is nothing wrong with euthanasia then.

(ii) A standardized argument

  1. Euthanasia relieves suffering

      1. suffering is not the desire for any person

      2. there is no suffering at death

  2. Euthanasia relieves medical costs

      1. Administering drugs and performing medical operations to a person with an incurable disease is expensive with no good results expected. If the person is suffering and unproductive, there is no reason to spend more on the person

      2. After all, there were no drugs or medical interventions during old days

[Premises 1 and 2 are convergent]

[Premises 1 (i) and 1 (ii) are linked]

[Premises 2 (i) and 2 (ii) are linked]

Works Cited

BBC. Ethics Guide: Key Terms and Definitions. 2014. Web. April 8, 2014 <>