Aquinas Natural Law Euthanasia Essay

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View of Euthanasia of a Follower of Natural Law Essay examples

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View of Euthanasia of a Follower of Natural Law

Euthanasia is the international killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit. There are different types of euthanasia; voluntary, when the person who is killed has requested to be killed. Involuntary euthanasia is when the person who is killed made no request or gave no consent, Assisted suicide is when someone provides an individual with the information, guidance, and means to take his or her own life with the intention that they will be used for this purpose. When it is a doctor who helps another person to kill themselves it is called "physician assisted suicide." Euthanasia By Action is intentionally…show more content…

So we could say euthanasia goes against ‘natural law’ because of our five primary precepts. ‘To live’ is one of our purposes in life on this earth euthanasia breaks this rules, as it is assisting suicide. He derives secondary precepts from the primary precept ‘to live’; no contraception, no homosexuality, no abortion, no euthanasia, no murder, no suicide.

Humanity has an essentially rational nature, and reason can discover the right action in every situation by following an appropriate, exceptionless principle. But sometimes we encounter moral conflicts, dilemmas in which we cannot do good without bringing about evil consequences. Aquinas believed you could never do a bad act for a good intention; the act overrides the intention. The DDE, doctrine of double effect was devised, it says that it is always wrong to do a bad act intentionally in order to bring about good consequences, but that it is sometimes permissible to do a good act despite knowing that it will bring about bad consequences. The doctrine consists of four conditions that must be satisfied before an act is morally permissible.

The nature-of-the-act condition, the action must be either morally good or indifferent. Lying or intentionally killing an innocent person is never

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How is your juggling technique? Well that is exactly what you need to do in application essays. You not only have to consider the topic but evaluate how well it applies to an ethical issue, whilst at the same time taking into consideration the specific wording of the question. Hence why application topics are so challenging!

The application topics work as follows:

  • Natural Law and Situation Ethics as applied to euthanasia
  • Kant and Utilitarianism as applied to business ethics

My understanding is that there are three possible types of questions you might be asked in ethics:

  1. Specific topic and issue (e.g. Natural law provides a helpful approach when dealing with issues surrounding euthanasia)
  2. Two topic comparison with issue (e.g. Utilitarianism is more helpful than Kantian ethics when dealing with ethical dilemmas)
  3. Just issue (e.g. Evaluate the view that the religious concept of sanctity of life is outdated)


  • A question might say ‘ethical dilemmas’ or ‘ethical issues’ which means you still need to talk about the related application topic, even if it is not specified (like Q2.)
  • If the question is just on the issue, you still need to draw in arguments from one or both topics, not just a general discussion of the issue (like Q3.)

So here are my tips to help you handle an application question. These four steps will work with any type of application question.

Step One: Work out the Five Paragraph Rule (see The Five Paragraph Rule for more guidance) for the topic/s

Step Two: Identify the ‘issues’ you wish to discuss (e.g. Euthanasia focuses upon sanctity of life, personhood, quality of life, slippery slope etc.)

Step Three: Plan ways to link the topic with the application issues.

Step Four: Work out your line of argument (is the topic helpful etc.)

The table below gives you a structural overview for Q1:

Note: I use words such as ‘may’ or ‘might’ so ‘may indicate’ and ‘might argue’ as you can only ever make assumptions about the application. Never say: Natural Law would be against because (as you just don’t know)

The table below gives you a structural overview for Q2:

Utilitarianism keeps the structure of the essay for two reasons. One because it is the topic mentioned in the question first, so by starting the paragraphs with Util means you are always keeping the question in mind. Secondly I advise you to stick with the same topic at the start of your paragraphs to avoid adding further complications (one paragraph starting with Utilitarianism another starting with Kant etc. just sounds messy). So even if the topic is not specified in the question (such as Q3) I recommend you structure your essays using the themes from one topic.

As you will notice there are only four paragraphs in this essay structure above (not the ‘five paragraph rule’ I advocate). This is because you will be comparing two topics with evaluation and application issues, therefore each paragraph will be quite lengthy = less paragraphs.

Please note: the two tables above are to show how to structure an essay, not demonstrating how to write coherent and eloquent arguments (as this would take a much longer paragraph). With this in mind don’t forget to add ‘defense’ arguments, books, quotes, other names etc.

Further Note: in the comparison section only link to one theme from the other argument per paragraph as well (so Util and pleasure vs Kant and duty), so at any one time you are only comparing one theme from each topic with one application issue.

For examples of student’s work see “Natural law provides a helpful approach when dealing with issues surrounding euthanasia” Student’s Work

For examples of student’s work see:  “Utilitarianism is more useful than Kantian Ethics when dealing with ethical dilemmas” Discuss: Student’s Work

For further guidance in developing your essay technique  just click on the image below to download this product quickly and safely (for a small charge).

If you would like a Lesson Pack with activities and worksheets, that complements the power point, please click on the image below:

Revision bubbles/ advice and sample questions with guidance found in:

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