Applied Ethics Euthanasia for Competitive Exams

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Complete Video at - Euthanasia: Types of Euthanasia (Philosophy)


  • Euthanasia may be defined as an action in which a person is intentionally killed or allowed to die because it is believed that the individual would be better off dead.
  • For example, in the case of an irreversible coma, or the vegetative state or the brain-dead state where there are no changes of revival.
  • Etymologically, the world euthanasia is derived from two Greek word, eu which means good or well, and thanatos which means death.
  • So, it means good-death, or dying-well. In short, it means to purposively or intentionally bring a life to an end in-order to release it from pain or suffering.
  • It is also termed as mercy-killing. As it is seen as a call for mercy for terminally ill patients.

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Types of Euthanasia

Voluntary Euthanasia

  • Euthanasia is voluntary when it is requested by the person, personally to end one՚s life in a pain-less manner.
  • For example, a patient ailing with an untreatable diseases requests to cut his/her life short.
  • Carried out in favour of the patient՚s will and the patient gives one՚s consent.
  • It is legal in Belgium, Colombia, Netherland and Canada.
Types of Euthanasia

In-Voluntary Euthanasia

  • When the person who undergoes euthanasia wants to live instead.
  • In other word, euthanasia is performed on the person without asking for his/her consent.
  • This is against the patient՚s will.
  • It is illegal in all the countries.
  • It is as good as killing someone purposely or murder.

Non-Voluntary Euthanasia

  • When the person is not able to indicate (or is unconscious) whether or not he or she wants to undergo euthanasia
  • Simply put, when the concerned person՚s consent is unavailable
  • For example; adults who have permanently lost consciousness, infants, etc.
  • It is illegal in all the countries.
  • There are two ways to conduct euthanasia. They are;

Active Euthanasia

  • Actively performing the act of euthanasia. For example, withdrawal of life support system, administering a lethal injection, consumption of a deadly drink of drugs/poison, etc. Hence, activities which immediately facilitate a person՚s death.

Passive Euthanasia

  • Passively and not actively facilitating a person՚s death. For example, withholding necessary treatments, medicines, etc.
  • So, we have six different kinds of euthanasia;
  • voluntary euthanasia,
  • voluntary passive euthanasia
  • non-voluntary euthanasia,
  • non-voluntary passive euthanasia,
  • involuntary active euthanasia,
  • involuntary passive euthanasia.
  • All these six ways face the moral question; is it morally or ethically permissible?
  • It is important to note that voluntary passive euthanasia is generally, morally and legally permissible across the globe.

Moral Arguments Against Euthanasia

  • The first objection to euthanasia may be termed the objection from Sanctity of Life. The Sanctity of Life is usually founded on religious beliefs. According to religions such as Christianity, Judaism, etc. life is a sacred gift from God. Hence, all lives are worth-preserving as all lives have in them the sacred essence of God. In other words, God dwells in us all.
  • The second objection to euthanasia is also formed on religious thinking and beliefs that one must not object to suffering. Suffering is not necessarily evil, according to Christianity. Hence, euthanasia must not be allowed for a person must endure the pain and not avoid it for it is a part of God՚s plan or it is how God has desired it for him/her. In short, it is a religious belief that suffering in the end brings one closer to God.
  • The third objection is teleological in nature. The ethical theorists say, if euthanasia is allowed in some situations then it would result in euthanasia becoming legal and acceptable in all situations even when morally they are undesirable in nature.
  • The fourth objection says that science is advancing each day, there are new medicines, new technologies for aids. So, if euthanasia is allowed then death may occur which could have been treated if people were kept alive.

Moral Arguments in Favour of Euthanasia

  • The first pro-euthanasia argument is called, quality of life. It says that under some situations, life is actually less preferable than death. So, when the quality of life is so dreadful, people must be able to decide for themselves.
  • Some people are economically not able to provide for an ailing patient. The expenses like, hospital bills, medicine bills, etc. are too costly. So, a lot of money is spent on a dying person who is in a vegetative, irrecoverable state.
  • The third pro-euthanasia argument is called, argument from personal autonomy. It says, each person has a right, an autonomy towards his life and life conditions. So, if a person autonomously choses to die, then we should respect his right to autonomy.


Q-1 The word Euthanasia is derived from two Greek words


A. Eau and Thanos

B. Eu and Thanatos

C. Eu and Thanas

D. None of these

Answer: B

Q- 2. There are a total of ________ kinds of Euthanasia


A. Six

B. Seven

C. Eight

D. Nine

Answer: A

3. Mercy killing is also known as


A. Euthanasia

B. Suicide

C. Honour Killing

D. Capital Punishment

Answer: A

Q-4. Withdrawal of life support system, administering a lethal injection, consumption of a deadly drink of drugs/poison, etc. deals with

A. Active Euthanasia

B. Passive Euthanasia

C. Voluntary Euthanasia

D. In-voluntary Euthanasia

Answer: A

Q-5. Select the correct arguments in favour of Euthanasia


A. It is economically not viable for a long time to keep a person alive on life support system

B. Each person has autonomy over one՚s life and one՚s life conditions

C. Both A and B

D. None of these

Answer: C

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