Euthanasia and Cloning Philosophy Morally Good or Bad Discussion


Issue II: Euthanasia (“good death”)/mercy killing and or assisted suicide

When a person performs an act of euthanasia, she brings about the death of another person because she believes the latter’s present existence is so bad that he would be better off dead, or believes that unless she intervenes and ends his life, his life will very soon become so bad that he would be better off dead. Accordingly, the motive of the person who performs an act of euthanasia is to benefit the one whose death is brought about. This also holds for many instances of physician-assisted suicide, but use of the latter term is usually restricted to forms of assistance which stop short of the physician “bringing about the death” of the patient, for example, those involving means that have to be activated by the patient.

It is important to emphasize the motive of benefiting the person who is assisted to die because well-being is a key value in relation to the morality of euthanasia. Nonetheless, the defensibility of the contention that someone can be better off dead has been the subject of extensive philosophical deliberation. Those who claim that a person can be better off dead believe this to be true when the life that remains in prospect for that person has no positive value for her (a possibility which is discussed by e.g., Foot, 1977; McMahan 2002; Bradley 2009), whereas some of those who hold that a person’s life is inviolable deny that a person can ever be better off dead.

Question 1 : Why is euthanasia OK for our pets, but not ourselves?

Issue II: Attack of the Clones

Dolly the sheep, the first mammal cloned from a somatic (body) cell, came into the world innocent as a lamb. However, soon after the announcement of her birth in February 1997 she caused panic and controversy. An important, and for many people troubling question arose: if the cloning of sheep is possible, will scientists soon start cloning humans as well; and if they did, would this be wrong or unwise?

For most people, Dolly was really a wolf in sheep’s clothing. She represented a first undesirable and dangerous step to applying reproductive cloning in humans, something that many agreed should never be done. Only a small minority thought it was permissible, or even morally obligatory to conduct further research into human reproductive cloning. Some had no strong objections to it, but did not see any reason to promote it either.

Dolly is now stuffed and set up for display in the National Museum of Scotland. Many countries or jurisdictions have legally banned human cloning or are in the process of doing so. In some countries, including France and Singapore, reproductive cloning of humans is a criminal offence. In 2005, the United Nations adopted a “Declaration on Human Cloning,” which calls for a universal ban on human cloning. The debate on human reproductive cloning seems to have drawn to a close. However, since reproductive cloning of mammals has become routine in several countries, there is reason to believe that at some point in the future, humans will be cloned too. Moreover, even if reproductive cloning will not be possible in the near future, cloning for research and therapeutic purposes is likely to be.

  1. Barbra Streisand, an American singer, actor, and personality, has two cloned dogs.… (Links to an external site.)

Is there something wrong with this, or is it just like another luxury good?


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