The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 4, 1998

Bioethics and Medical Ethics

Alfonso Flórez, Claudia Escobar
Pages 36-38

La Eutanasia No-Voluntaria

The case of nonvoluntary euthanasia shows that the current definition of euthanasia must be more accurately determined. Euthanasia refers necessarily to the ending of life due to serious illness which must be expanded to include the lack of any capacity to give sense to life. A person in this latter position would be under lasting and unbearable suffering, perhaps unconscious, and incapable of leading her own life. The ethics of euthanasia must take these considerations into account. The will does not found the ethical decision. This is based instead on the reasonableness of continuing life under these circumstances. Voluntary euthanasia, as well as nonvoluntary, is founded on the right that every person who suffers under these conditions has to put an end to her life. It is understood that this is the only way to escape from such misfortune when life does not make sense any longer. The topic of euthanasia has a political dimension that is associated with the contemporary practice of medicine and the defense of human rights in our society. At the foundational level, euthanasis is unitary; the distinction between voluntary and nonvoluntary establishes only further precision, not a fundamental one.