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ARISTOTLE HERITAGE AND EUTHANASIA

A Systematic Study of Ethics As an Effort to Understand the Virtue

ANDRI AZIS PUTRA, M. Phil.
Lecturer and Secretary of Office of International Affairs at Universitas Proklamasi 45
Yogyakarta – Indonesia.
Address:

St. Proklamasi, No.1 Babarsari, Catur Tunggal, Depok, Sleman.
Special Region of Yogyakarta - Indonesia 55283,
Telp +62-274-485517, 485535/ Fax +62-274-486008
E-mail: da.riaz.neo@gmail.com

Abstract:
Euthanasia is one of the modern ethical problem that got a lot of attention in recent
decades. Questions about the legality of the law over euthanasia is certainly requires indepth study in the field of ethics. As other thorny ethical issues, euthanasia is always
discussed on at least two opposite sides. So it needs a basic explanations about the issues
and agree on a core definitions for euthanasia. Virtue Ethics as one of the oldest branches
of ethics in the history of human life becomes the last hope to reconcile the dispute
concerning the validity of the implementation of euthanasia. As the beginning of
everything, Aristotle became the most influential figure in establishing the role of
primacy. Although in the discussion as a whole, the role of Aristotle more accurately
described as a historical figure for the philosophers who come and inherit his thoughts.
Aristotle, by virtue ethics that are passed into the hands of humans today, is expected to
explain and provide solutions to the problem of euthanasia, which until this moment still
shake the stage of human morality.
Keywords: Aristoteles, euthanasia, virtue ethics, humanity.

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A. Introduction
As one of the main problems in the field of axiology, the truth has always been a
subject that can not be missed. In many discussions, the truth is often equated with
goodness, beautiness, and of course the virtues. Actually, the truth tends to be an
universal idea when it is brought into the metaphysical studies. In some religious beliefs,
the truth is identical with God. This, indicates that there is a superpower structure that is
able to cover everything in the universe. At the same time, this structure also has the
ability to touch the partial sides of life. Therefore, the truth will inevitably related to the
conscious of human beings as the only “entity” that is able to realize and understand the
meaning of the ultimate truth.
At the same time, the truth should be able to hinder the emergence of fallacy in all
kinds of thoughts. In the study of logic, fallacy is the problem of inaccuracy when laying
the foundation or premise. Consciousness, as mentioned before, is the steer of ratio in
case achieving an agreed point. Up to this point there is nothing significant problems
emerged. This is due to the fact that the truth logically will always follow formulas that
have been established and are considered steady. Humans, through their subjectivity will
choose one model or type of truth that considered as a something that intellectually
correct. Here is the beginning of the problem of the relativity of values contained by the
truth. Truth is no longer something that is ontologically, but turned into something
applicable. To that end, the truth began to be seen as the same form as virtue.
Aristotle as one of the most important philosophers of the world systematically
reveal that virtue can only be achieved if happiness has become possible. (Aristotelian
Ethics is about what makes a virtuous character (ethikē Arete) possible, the which is in
turn Necessary if happiness is to be possible.) The virtue in this is of course synonymous
with the truth that is human, everyone has the right feel and gives his views on what The
main deemed appropriate. When talking about are all things concerned with reality, then
of course the main study about what is true in the sense of really real or not real. Verikatif
ratio does not aim to determine what is reasonable or not, or is true or not, or appropriate
or not. It can be said that truth, virtue, happiness, goodness and beauty are elements that
build up a specific scheme in human life. At some stages and levels, all of these terms, or
may be called with these properties interchangeable with each other.

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The emergence of these qualities of course require a new study space beside the
reality or rationality truths. Man as the center of everything in this world, lived the act of
consciousness through the process of birth to death. This is because birth and death are
two things that must happen in every human being and then cause man indirectly
becomes equal to one another. Existentially, birth and death can not be avoided or chosen
exactly when it happened. Therefore, a life lived by the man is basically a pause that
dynamically appears between birth and death time. Then the human values become
clearer as the accumulation of all actions once elected and run for the life of human
experience. In the end, it became commonplace when people choose one kind or type of
life that is considered to be good or it could represent the conduct of each other.
Basically, human beings can not choose a form of the condition, time, or the
circumstances of his birth. The main cause is the consciousness and the ability to choose
something does not exist yet at the time. However, people in the development of life are
given the ability to direct the form of the death or model of the end of his life. These
conditions stimulates the emergence of desire to avoid death or slow it down. One of the
ways in which the human being to achieve that is through the development of technology
and science. In the end, both are considered as part of human life. This scientific
development is a manifestation of man's desire to move forward, to perfect himself, and
to solve the secrets of nature mistery (Mohamad 1992: ix).
The course of scientific studies aimed at finding a solution to the problems of life
is certainly not smooth, as it relates to values that somehow already existing beforehand.
In recent years, conflicts of interest between the rational and moral values are very visible
in modern media. For example, scientific discoveries, especially in health sector has the
aim to prevent people from various diseases. If this issue is associated with birth and
death, then this could be interpreted as an attempt to slowing down the death time. In the
modern human understanding, absolutely there is no problem in the actions such as this.
However, there is a controversial condition in terms of a result that deserves to be studied
and examined in more depth. One of the conditions contained in the question, "What if
this knowledge development actually cause further ethical problems? Or briefly, what if a
conflict arises which constantly keeps going because a moral action?
Let me review a little bit about one of the breakthroughs in modern medical world
called Euthanasia. This subject has been a contentious discourse in recent decades and
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necessarily present a new ethical debate, by accommodate the expectations of the rest of
the previous period. Historically, euthanasia is an action that was decided by someone
through the help of another person to end his life. More specifically euthanasia is always
associated with the pain conditions who have very severe and is no longer open hope for
recovery. Is this euthanasia have a relationship with the value of this particular act of
killing or not? Cases that will be used as a comparison for euthanasia is certainly not an
ordinary murder. Therefore, the role in this paper, will be presented the kind of murder
that for certain people considered permissible or right, such as: killing in war.
Comparative studies between euthanasia and the act of killing in war, raises a
conflict of interest highly concentrated, therefore, a study by the ethics of virtue (virtue
ethics) is considered more appropriate. Euthanasia and murder, as well as another sources
of moral issues require not only a sharp knife to analysis, but is also has to able helping
for sorting the parts more closely. As one of the oldest forms of ethics in human history,
virtue ethics is also very complex, taking into account the virtues of many sides.
Circumstances surrounding the execution, as well as the background for the occurrence
of euthanasia and murder further solidify the position of virtue ethics as a surgeon for its
ethical dimensions.
B. Euthanasia for Humanity Discourse
To be able to get a full understanding on the implementation of euthanasia which
will then be escorted into the object of study of ethical, then the best way is to make an
effort to digest the per-part. As a first step, it should be noted the basic assumptions or
allegations surrounding the implementation of euthanasia is emerging in terms of sociocivic. So is the case with the murder, which is actually a moral issue oldest in human
history. Death and life will inevitably be two central point of this article, so that cases of
life support machines, medicines, and of course the act of euthanasia is an important
issue. Euthanasia would take more space because it is inherently there is the issue of the
death and life of a patient. Therefore, at the beginning of this paper will briefly presented
regarding the definition, types, and methods of euthanasia as an introduction to this study.
At first, life support machines were created to keep the possibility of a patient
suffering from pain that has not really died. Some cases do show the effectiveness of the
invention of this machine and managed to help some lives. However, in most cases, the
engine became the cause of the arrival of new ethical questions. One of them is the
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change of human traditions in the face of death. The tradition of classic death in earlier
times when a person is dying is when doctors or medical staff will let him in submission.
So that a person who suffers a severe illness will die slowly quietly. Ethical standards to
problems of this kind is only by taking action to accompany the patient during this
period-only to the extent that, thus directly no complicated ethical issues.
Not only this, the discovery and development of the world of medicine is also a
source of new problems in the medical world. Drugs that can relieve pain and able to
relax the patient also needs to be studied. On the one hand, these drugs are very helpful
but on the other hand also cause retention of pain thus delaying death. Ethics or moral
philosophy with its universal nature would not discuss the extent of "may or may not
usually" a life is maintained. With the help to survive, then the ethical area that is
becoming increasingly widespread. When a patient suffering from severe illness and
theoretically no longer have any hope of recovery, then there is an ethical problem there.
In addition to the drug help to relieve the pain of life, or in other ways that members of a
kind of anesthetic, there are also drugs that are chemically capable of accelerating the
coming of death.
Drugs or auxiliary engine life becomes the choice of many people, but what
should be done? If the death was delayed, then there are many reasons such as mentalspiritual pain that persists, cost overruns hospital, and of the socio-religious side there
will be some sort of lack of surrender to God's decision. When there is a right of people
who are still alive or are still healthy collide with the rights dying or even theoretically no
longer have a chance to live, then of course there should be in-depth study. The
conditions that trigger the emergence of personal conduct euthanasia option also applies
to the social conditions of society. Generally used as the root of the problem is about the
effective functioning of a person or group of people for the environment.
Basic assumptions and a short description of the cases that were surrounding
euthanasia above, should be analyzed more thoroughly and deeply. The purpose of this
analysis is to find substantial significance for the implementation of euthanasia from the
standpoint of moral philosophy. As is known, this contemporary era raises many new
problems-problems in the field of ethics. The issues that have been presented in the
introduction above, could be solved through acts of euthanasia. However, due to a

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definite relationship with the death or disappearance of a person's life then of course there
are other ethical problems that follow.
So, we need an interpretative activities, so that this moral issue could be brought
into the realm of the ethical. If developed, the right to life and protection is always used
as a popular reason for refusing to do euthanasia. Instead, the right to share, sincere, and
put the interests of a more mainstream also be used as reasons for acceptance. Both of
these reasons have a vested interest groups and the sides were equally strong, so it needs
to be seated in a scientific-ethical study for the position ideally able to be found. The
ethics of virtue in this case a very vital position to peel and remove the essence and also
solutions that are expected to explain everything to light.
1. Definition of Euthanasia
Euthanasia became one of the terms that are popular among medical scientists,
ethicists, and lawyers since the last half century. Today, euthanasia re-bloom discussed
especially regarding aspects of ethical-medical. Euthanasia is generally defined as; the act
or practice of killing someone painlessly suffering from untreated illnesses and painful as
an act of mercy (Paola, 2010: 328).
John Keown (2002) writes in his book entitled, "Euthanasia, Ethics, and Public
Policy: An Argument Against legalization", states that the word euthanasia comes from
the Greek, meaning "gentle and easy death". Keown believes there are some problems of
the definition which of course became the first boundary of this action. Certainly no man
is willing to perceive or accept a painful death. There is a general understanding agreed in
this regard, that the act of euthanasia is a decision that will make life becomes shorter.
This action is closely related to shortening the life of a patient by a doctor. After the act is
done, have to concur that characteristic of euthanasia is the belief that the death would
benefit the patients, that the patient woulbe be better off dead. Then here comes three
stages ethical issues of euthanasia, namely: Euthanasia involves the doctors in making a
decision, the decision taken by the doctors and they will shorten the life of a patient, and
the euthanasia decision should be based on the belief that patients would be better if they
are dead. Unfortunately, believing that such definition; as if there are intentional
performed by a doctor to end a patient's life. Then here two definitions of euthanasia
First: Euthanasia as the active, intentional termination of life. Second: Euthanasia as the
intentional termination of life by act or by ommision. (Keown, 2002: 10-12).
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More specifically, Ali Mudhofir (2009) describes the definition of euthanasia
refers to the root of the word derived from the Greek, namely: eu = "good", and Thanatos
= "dead". As a whole the term is defined as the death of a calm and reasonable. Later in
development, the term euthanasia is started is defined as "murder without suffering" for
patients who can not be expected further recovery or in other words also called a deadly
act of mercy patients. Thus, euthanasia for the next could be interpreted as an act (action)
end the life of someone who aims to stop his suffering, either upon request or at the
discretion of the patient himself and his family doctor (Ali, 2009: 220-221).
Another definition comes from Kartono Mohamad (1992) which revealed that the
meaning of euthanasia among medical specialists is actually an act of helping someone to
die more quickly in order to free him from the suffering caused by the disease. Pressure
point chosen by Mohamad is the act of "accelerated death" performed by doctors or
medical experts. Of course this is related to the central issue that is always debated and
euthanasia overshadow the process of shutting down or kill (Mohamad, 1992: 19).
The issue of euthanasia itself in the sense of letting a person die, in fact is not a
new issue or not an item that actually emerged in the modern age. There has been a sort
of traditional forms of euthanasia comes from the early times of human life. One of them
as found in the historical record the nomadic tribes in Africa. Euthanasia of that era
understood and carried out by leaving the elderly or people who have severe disease in a
shack and let him or her die quietly without disturbing displacement activity group.
Likewise in some traditional fairy tale archipelago also found acts of omission for
someone who has a severe illness, one staunya carried out in the form of discharge into
the river in hopes of directly taken by the gods (Mohamad, 1992: 32).
2. Types of Euthanasia
As a measure containing controversy and serious debate, is of course the case has
been discussed by various ethical approach. The medical, social, legal, and even
philosophy are the most intimate arena with this issue. Especially the world of medicine
and philosophy (ethics), which generally earn the highest portion in reviewing issues that
developed in the practice of euthanasia. Euthanasia, as has been discussed in the previous
point, of course relates to actions that have consequences for the loss of someone's life,
something that certainly can not be considered as a mild condition. Because it is a

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condition that requires in-depth discussion and of course the discourse that was entangled
and interconnected.
On the other hand, euthanasia as an act that appears to avoid a damage of course
bring a different attitude. It is quite understandable, because of the way each man looked
at a variety of conditions by definition, would be diverse as well. To facilitate discussion,
euthanasia is divided into several types of division. There are at least two kinds of
grouping ever put forward by the experts, which is based initiative (willingness) and by
way of execution or action taken.
a. Euthanasia Based on Initiative
Dividing euthanasia based on the initiative, referring to the patient's willingness
or unwillingness. Thomas A. Shannon (1995) says that in order to approach the ethical
aspects of euthanasia, then that should be done is to differentiate based on the initiative.
Therefore, euthanasia will be divided into; euthanasia voluntary and involuntary
euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia is an act done by the patient himself or at his request.
While involuntary euthanasia is an act done without consent of the person concerned
(Shannon, 1995: 69).
The act of voluntary euthanasia is usually done directly by a doctor. Practice
euthanasia type is often performed due to a patient suffering from a painful disease.
While the act of voluntary euthanasia is not usually done through legal aid granted by a
court. This is done when a person suffering from a particular disease is no longer
considered to have no hope of survival (Wilcockson, 2008: 48).
In addition to these two types of euthanasia, Ronald Yenzin (1980), more
specifically divide it into three parts, namely: voluntary euthanasia, involuntary
euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia. Perbedaaanya lies in the separation of involuntary
euthanasia (involuntary) and involuntary (nonvoluntary). Measures will be considered
voluntary euthanasia when at all without request or consent of the patient. Yenzin then
goes on to explain that euthanasia could be carried out against the will of the patient.
While euthanasia without volunteerism is an act done by a third party (outside the
patient) such as a family or a court (in Mohamad: 1992: 30).
b. Euthanasia Based on Execution Method
The second classification type of euthanasia is based on method of execution or
on action taken, namely: active euthanasia and passive euthanasia. Active euthanasia is an
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act done by a doctor which resulted in the death as direct effect. This type of euthanasia
usually done through medication or special drug causes death. While the definition of
passive euthanasia is when a doctor does not perform any action that directly cause the
death of a patient. This can be done as letting a patient die in peace by stopping
medication (Ali, 2009: 221).
Active euthanasia is divided into two branches, namely: direct active euthanasia
and indirect active euthanasia. Direct active euthanasia is the way taken by the medical
measures calculated to immediately end the patient's life, such as the provision of cyanide
and so on. While indirect active euthanasia is something not directly done through
medical procedures that could potentially take the life of a patient, such as the take of the
oxygen or other life support (Mohamad, 1992: 31).
Discussion of euthanasia performed in a passive way can also be done at the
request of the patient, called auto-euthanasia. At first glance, this type of euthanasia is
similar to euthanasia on a voluntary basis. However, auto-euthanasia more detail because
there is a necessity to make a written statement on the voluntary that is commonly called
cocodicil (Mohamad, 1992: 31).
Two classification of euthanasia is to show that the act of taking the life of a
patient should be done on a reciprocal basis, so that the ethical dimension can actually be
discussed dynamically. Euthanasia, whether seen by initiative or by the method used,
both show that the action was taken on the basis of humanity. There must be a party that
is responsible for the action taken, in this case doctors and medical personnel. And is also
responsible for the legality, which in this case is the patient, family, and sometimes the
courts.
3. Implementation Methods of Euthanasia
Some definitions and explanations of the kinds of euthanasia have provided initial
views on how the act of euthanasia performed. The key word is eliminating lives that
were done due to the need to eliminate the pain became unbearable. Briefly, euthanasia is
an emergency action taken to minimize pain or further damage. So that euthanasia can
also be done to hasten death when costs are too expensive to be paid. For this reason it is
necessary to act as a deterrent on the other moral case.
Before done in humans, euthanasia has been first practiced on animals are dying.
In some cases also practiced on animals that had to be removed for his life, such as dogs,
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monkeys or cats that are very old. In general, there is no difference in the way as well as
the enactment of euthanasia requirements in both animals and humans. The only
differences are in the details of execution problems or tools are used.
This can be seen from what was written by Trudy Sharp and Glen Saunders
(2004), that the implementation of the method of euthanasia should refer to the criteria of
the pre-execution, including:
• does not cause extreme pain,
• capable of causing a loss of consciousness or death quickly,
• avoid the fray and cause psychological stress for the patient,
• must be able to demonstrate consistent and predictable process,
• safely conducted by officers who have the authority,
• should cause minimal emotional effect for the officers or observers like,
• is not a disease or environmental problems
•do not lead to the carcasses or remains of which cause poisoning or other
adverse effects (Sharp, 2004: 4).
C. Virtue Ethics as A Critique of Euthanasia Implemention
By definitions, types, and methods of implementation of euthanasia that have
been disclosed in the previous chapter, of course we already know that this case must be
examined in the ethical realm. Ethics or moral philosophy, as understood by many people
is the most important analytical knife for moral acts. Although, ethics has been defined in
various ways by many people, of course, still need to limit the meaning clearer.
1. Definition of Ethics
Ethics comes from the Greek, namely ethikos. This stems from the word "ethos"
with the meaning of habits, character, and tendencies. Meanwhile, in terms of ethics or
moral philosophy is defined as the study of considerations approved or not approved,
right or wrong, good or bad, good or evil. So also with what is desired or the wisdom of
actions, inclinations, purposes, objects, and state events (Ali, 2009: 197).
K. Bertens mentions other definitions of ethics, although it actually uses a
similar approach to Ali Mudhofir above. Based on the Greek root, Bertens concluded that
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the meaning of ethics is the study of what is usual or knowledge of the customs. When
paired with modern terms, it can also be said of ethics as a science that addresses the
social conventions that are found in the community (Bertens, 2013: 4).
Furthermore Sidi Gazalba write multiple definitions of ethics that
comes from the experts in his book "Systematic Philosophy" (1992), as follows:
• According to Ensilopedi Winkler Prins, the meaning of ethics is part of the
philosophy that develop a theory of action, argument-hujahnya and objectives
diarah; directed to the meaning of the action.
• New American Encyclopedia, ethics is the science of moral philosophy, not
about facts, but about values; not about the nature of human action, but about the
idea, because it is not a positive science but formative.
• AS Hornby Dictionary, ethics is the science of morals or principles moral rules
of action and behavior.
• A Handbook of Christian Ethics, ethics is a normative science, saw man as a
moral force, taking into account the habits and character with insights about right
or wrong, the tendency to the good and the bad (Zaprulkhan, 2012: 171-170).
Some definitions above should be able to explain the early discourse on ethics.
That there are some keywords like behavior, habits, customs and traditions. All of this
can be paired with the term "daily" as the closest human beings as moral actors.
Bertens see further by continuing that ethics is the science which deals with
morality or of humanity as far as morality. In this case, the moral behavior is something
very important (Bertens, 2013: 13).
Franz Magnis-Suseno (2001) also reveals a definition which simply means that
ethics is the overall shape of the norms and judgments used by the people concerned to
find out how people should run their lives. So, Magnis more emphasis on the discovery
of the answer to the question; how I should carry myself, attitudes, and actions which one
should I developed, so that my life as a human being successful? (Magnis-Suseno, 2001:
6).
Discussion of definitions it seems to be sufficient, which is steering the way to
continue further discussion on ethics. In addition to the keywords that have been
mentioned above, the emphasis on each area, time, and conditions as the things that have
ethical standards respectively, it is to be marked. Of course the latter is opening the way
to a more dynamic study.
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2. The Flow of Ethical Theory
Ethics or moral philosophy is a science that examines everything about morals,
actions, rules, and of course the result or purpose of a moral action. When a moral
decision has been taken, there must be considerations that must be done. This moral
considerations can be divided into two, are: 1) consideration of values. This consideration
comes to good and bad, desirable or unwanted objects, goals, experiences, tendencies, or
state persitiwa. 2) consideration of the liability. For example the obligation, truth, error,
wisdom, or folly of various actions or suggestions for specific actions (Ali, 2009: 199).
Schools of theory in ethics have been discussed and described by many figures in
the manner and approach of each. This for sure, makes the distribution of the kinds of
ethical flow varies as well. By taking the basis of ethical considerations in the top
division, then we will be able to continue the discussion as presented by K. Bertens.
There are three theories that can also be said to be a large flow of moral philosophy, are:
a. Hedonism
Hedonism is the flow that was discovered by Aristippus of Kyrene (433-355 BC),
who was a disciple of Socrates. This flow is a theory that believes that a ultimate good for
man is a pleasure. The argument is small since humans are always interested in things
that are fun. According Aristippus the sheer pleasure of good is physical or material
pleasure. Another Greek philosophers who's continuing this theory is Epicurean (341-270
BCE). Epicurean added that through the pleasure of the human will reach Ataraxia.
b. Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism theory developed by the Scottish philosopher, David Hume (17111776). Although in the end the flow is getting its ideal form in the hands of Jeremy
Betham (1748-1832). This stream emphasizes the principle of utility or benefit to all
moral action. The main purpose of this school is to improve the administration and law in
England at first. The trick is to bring the new classifications were able to organize a lot of
things, especially in the field of law. Furthermore, the philosopher who managed to refine
and strengthen the flow of utilitarianism is the British philosopher, John Stuart Mill
(1806-1873). Differences in thinking compared to the initial thought is entering the
qualitative characteristics on the size of the pleasure and happiness of man.

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c. Deontology
Briefly, the flow of this theory insists on purpose of issue of an ethical action. If
the schools of theories previously discussed is more directed at the handiwork, the
deontological theory leads to the original purpose or what it should be. Or if discussed
etymologically, the deontology is the science which deals with the obligations.
Philosopher who created the system or the flow of this moral is the great Germany
philosopher, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). He said what can be called good is good will.
It is because everything that should be done based on an obligation or what was supposed
to be done on that something. One of the principal terms used by Kant in delivering his
ethical thoughts it is the will of autonomy terms. A terms or theory which then ultimately
leads to the freedom of human will (Bertens, 2013: 183-200).
The division schools ethical theory is very much conveyed by its prominent, but
what is disclosed by K. Bertens above is sufficient to be used as a standard. In the case of
euthanasia, as has been mentioned several times before that the case is susceptible to
conflict over liabilities or interests. So that the study can create a solution or a middle
ground be the perfect choice. The division of the flow of ethical theory on top, making
the only flow that roughly can be used as a middle way is ethics that revealed a problem
of virtues. The division of the flow of ethics above leads to the ethics eudomonisme,
especially on the practical virtues. Ethics of the virtues mentioned the issue of the middle
way is also known by the name of virtue ethics or virtue ethics.
3. Virtue Ethics
And finally we come to the states and theories associated with virtue often
addressed to Aristotle. It is also contained in the explanation of one flow of ethical theory
above. Everything is based on the point of finding happiness as the goal of human life.
Virtues which later expected to be a kind of middle way able to issue a moral subject of
the pitfalls of negative morality.
Eudemonisme an ethical views presented by the great Greek philosopher,
Aristotle (384-322 BC). This view appears in his book ethika Nikomakheia. The essence
of ethics emphasizes that every human life has a purpose. And the final destination of life
or commonly referred to as the meaning of life is happiness. Further it is said that
happiness is the ultimate goal which is a good lead. As well as a flutist, the final goal is to
play the flute well. To bridge the his thoughts, Aristotle emphasizes that people living
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with virtues. There are two virtues of human beings, which is the primacy of intellectual
and moral virtues. When there is a conflict of duty or interest, then Aristotle said that the
availability of a sort of primacy of the middle way. For example, generosity is a virtue
middle way between stinginess and extravagance. Wisdom of the middle way was then
named by Aristotle with practical wisdom or phronesis.
Ethical virtues or also commonly known as good ethics is the flow that makes
human ethics as its main focus. It is certainly different from the other ethical theory that
studies the actions one after another. Furthermore, ethics it not only to investigate the
truth or falsity of a deed, but also pay attention to whether a person wants to be. The
difference with the ethics of obligation lies on ethical questions, between what should be
done and should be what? (Ali, 2009: 216).
This virtue ethics as already briefly mentioned in the previous subsection, stems
from a book written ethika Nikomakheia Aristotle. Decision on the root of this problem
which makes it also called ethics Nikomakheia. Aristotle considered that in the life of a
man was there that must be considered which is a problem of character. Early views of
virtue ethics is a matter of particular virtues such as courage, self-control, generosity, and
honesty. Everything is then discussed in a question as, "What kind of character properties
that make someone a good person?". The answer to the question which later found and
concluded as virtues (Rachels, 2004: 306).
Many people doubted that virtue ethics it is one of the oldest ethics flow of in
human history can overcome contemporary problems. However, positively Rosalind
Hursthouse (1999) says that there is a new breakthrough developed by the new
Aristotelian movement. For This new movement, virtue ethics can only be claimed by the
hallmark of a human of character that is natural and allowed in need eudaimonianya or
true happiness (Hursthouse, 1999: 69).
It is unique in the relationship between virtue ethics and ethics of obligation
(deontology) is the nature of the complementarity. Actually there is no significant conflict
in discussing two kinds of approaches or the flow of this ethical theory. The argument,
morality will always be related with the principles or rules and at the same time and also
associated with the quality of the man himself (Bertens, 2013: 167).

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If then there is asked, whether the standard of good which could serve as a virtue?
then a suitable response to be given is human nature. Bertens considers the nature of a
man is what is called the tendency remains. While Rosalind Hursthouse said that human
nature is everything that was never replaced in human life. That man can be practiced or
even contemplate see everything in this world. But the maturity of character or what is
called human nature that will never be confused or lost (Hursthouse, 1999: 81).
D. Position of the Euthanasia Based on Virtue Ethics Perspective
Euthanasia in the classical era or in the form of traditional although it has store
the forms are similar to this age, but of course the equivalent of ethical dimension is not
yet visible. The practice of euthanasia new to burst in the early 20th century and then gets
the spotlight and a strict studies in the early 1990s. As revealed by K. Bertens (2003) in
his book "Moral Concern (Keprihatinan Moral)", organization or institution which aims
to fight for the legalization of euthanasia had been established in 1935 in England.
However, the activity of the new international scale began in 1976 in a movement called
the International of Right to Die Societies (Bertens, 2003: 20).
Based on this, it can be said euthanasia as an ethical object of study is relatively
new and still warm enough to talk about. Especially seeing the study of ethics or moral
philosophy that runs dynamically. An issue or ethics studies in the past might suddenly
re-discussed or updated its studies on this age. Especially on studies associated directly to
human beings and humanity as the main object of the whole discussion of ethics.
Aristotle personal definition of the happiness which is as a mental activity that
follow or believe in a rational principle corresponding with perfection. According to
Korsgaard, Aristotle believes even test this definition many times. One of the ways used
againts Aristotle is with some of the criteria that he may consider fit with happiness or
goodness. From the tests done, Aristotle finally declared that goodness should be
sufficient and final, goodness must also be obtained from the activity, and the activity
should be pleasant. These three things, too, which then deliver Aristotle toward a
conclusion that contemplation is the only activity capable of loving themselves
independently. Contemplation is what is called by Aristotle as having finality and activity.
Two things are absolutely precious for himself without relying or depending on further to
another (Korsgaard, 1986: 489-90).
15

The ability of humans will always be associated with the kinds of consciousness
to understand what the truth is. Happiness for Aristotle is a marker of human nature to be
called human. A combination of contemplation, goodness, happiness, and virtue is a
complete of ethical structure of a human being. If any of the stage or part of this structure
lost, it can not be said to be a man as a human being. Therefore it takes life as a sign of
human consciousness there to living an ethical structure to achieve virtue. So how does
the death?
1. Euthanasia and the Problem of Death
The exposition about the definition and short history of euthanasia were able to
show holes of debate that could potentially inviting sharp differences. This is due to the
idea of human convention nearly always based upon the perspective of traditional,
cultural, and certainly the important of ethical differences of pressure point of each
human being. Imagine a enforced someone's life certainly contains an unusual sensation.
Moral studies toward or committed to bring a way out through imagery first. It is not
easy, since it is being discussed as the real sensation, so it must be experienced real as
well. However, due to limited conditions, the study of euthanasia will always be be
discussed through imagination and raised through the power of ratio of its researchers.
As revealed by Bertens, moral behavior can be approached in three ways, that is:
a descriptive approach, normative, and meta-ethics. Descriptive and normative ethics
referring more to a form of interaction and discourse that was developed. In contrast to
the meta-ethical approach which addresses the terms used in the field of moral or also
called ethical language (by Bertens, 2013: 13-16).
The discourse as the source of major debate on euthanasia is the act of taking the
someone life. Indirectly, it will always be associated with death. In the case of euthanasia,
the death that should have come by itself finally appeared with compulsion. So that often
appear on the surface is considered euthanasia as an act of murder.
Though the fact that has been recognized, shared, and ignored by all people; all
about the certainty of upcoming the death should make people calmer. But however the
death for humans will always be regarded as a loss. Then, what is actually being defended
by ethicists or sociologists when euthanizing banned is all about the problem of losing.

16

The loss not only felt by the personal suffering. But it is also felt by the the family, even
social citizens (Mohamad, 1992: 1).
During the time of the drugs have not been discovered yet as quickly now, there
are many diseases that cause death. So that people accustomed to the departure of a
family member, friend, or community members who died suddenly. But it is necessary to
remember that sudden death many years ago is not related to a medical process but a
social process. It was a kind of kepergiaan someone without first completing its social
affairs.
While at this time, humans wanted the sudden death as part of the medical
process. So, it is very easy to find people who believe that death is sudden death or
quickly more desirable than prolonged. This can be understood easily, considering the
age of the human in this time increased dramatically. Drug discovery and new ways that
could slow down the process of the death to be the cause of human psychological
changes. One of the consequences of the most contentious is when a human has been able
to intervene in the lives of various auxiliary systems (Shannon, 1995: 57).
The presence of the life support machine or respirators which causes loss of
traditional standards for the death. When in the ancient times absence of heartbeat or loss
of breath is a vital sign of the presence of the death, then in our time it can be presented
through the machine. The ethical problem is when there is a suspicion that which
breathing or which beating is not the body or organ of the patient, but it repirator itself.
But, because it has united with the body of the patient in any particular time period, then
becomes very difficult to transfer criteria. On the one hand, the social existence of
patients who are no longer getting up is a problem. Burden given to families who still live
increased, while growth in patients is not much.
So that a collision of interests or obligations among fixed attention to someone
who is "are no longer alive" by continuing with the people which actually still alive. This
is of course requires an a deep study to find solutions for collision or conflict of this
obligation. Euthanasia is one of the ways offered by some circles. Humanity cases, such
as the shooting of the wife of the family of Gilbert and several other cases which referred
to as assisted suicide, this is the result of a conflict of obligations. The problem is the
perpetrator or the patient or could be healthy people which want the death or feel that
death is better for him, began to increase in the world.

17

Therefore, it is necessary to bring the criteria for the death as rules, so that the
moral values that brought euthanizing becomes quite clear. According to Shannon, there
are four criteria that are summarized from Robert Veatch thoughts. This framework is
actually a classical framework, but because the object in question is a form the death, the
same that is still relevant today. Veatch said that a person can be regarded has died, if a
set of conditions:
a. Cessation of heart and lung.
These criteria may be one the oldest criteria in the history of mankind.
Technically, stopping heartbeat and stopping activity of the lung is a vital sign for the
death. But, once again it is said that the discovery of respiratory making these signs
become blurred. Mistrust arise about who is in fact is causing vital signs are still there,
the patient or the machine?
b. Separation of body and soul.
Second criteria is much more general and abstract. This is achieved naturally from
a particular philosophical background or specific religious. By stating that something like
this is very abstract to make decisions on when to apply certain the oldest criteria asking
for trouble. Thus in the Catholic tradition, there is a special sacrament which is "oiling" is
when waiting or ensuring the death really has come.
c. Brain death.
This criteria is the result or the consequence of discovery life support machine or
respirator. A patient whose in normal conditions it should be died can accept the chance
of life extension through the machine. So that we can be sure that the heart rate and
breathing will always be there, so it was traditionally said to a person who are not yet
dead. The amount of questions, who or what is actually was the source of respiratory stay
there as the respirator paired led some experts to find a way to establish new criteria for
death.
d. Neocortex Death
By the discovery of brain death criteria, it does not mean ethical issues regarding
the death has ended. When a person's brain stem is still active, then the nervous system
18

will still survive and runs spontaneously. Meanwhile, when asked whether the patient still
has the self-awareness, everyone becomes confused. The criteria for the death neocortex
is the most complex and also very determine. It is caused a man said to be human being
when he has the self-consciousness so that it becomes a moral subject. He can decide,
accept, reject, and provide some suggestions. When the consciousness is no longer
owned, then a man may be said no longer alive (Shannon, 1995: 58-60).
Euthanasia in this condition becomes a solution or middle way to solve new
problems in the social field, especially the issue of next moral decisions. When death
questioned by saying that he grabbed something or someone from the community, then
life is supposed to be the arrival or the fulfillment of the rights and obligations of a
person in the community as well. When someone is said to be alive, but did not able to
give anything to the people, then of course it was closer to the death. This brief and
extreme, would still require more explanation and a deep on the issue of death.
Stephen Everson (2008) revealed that Aristotle as the creator of the study of the
ethics of virtue considers that the soul or psuche are related to actual vision as the
capacity of a organ. In the use of words potentiality and actuality, Aristotle says that the
body of life that is able to reach the level of the first actuality only body that has organs.
The process leading to actuality level should also be followed by a specific capacities.
The intent of these words is, the body is paired with a specific capacity must be matched
well with the organ relevant to their respective capacities. Therefore, every capacity
except nous will always need organ. At the same time, the body will only be able to live
if you have the body parts are supported by specific capacities that are relevant to its
functions. The body that already has is then able to have psuche or soul (Barnes, 2008:
173-4).
The argument presented by Everson above, for Aristotle denied that the death was
not a separation of life or the body, nor stopping an organ, or all the other possibilities
which runs separately. Aristotle requires a certainty to say die when there is no longer a
potential life of a human being. This explanation makes Aristotle's moral logic which is
believed to be more difficult. Aristotle might say somebody who are not yet died when
the organs whose still function according to capacity base. The first actuality or second
potentiality still be accepted if there are organs with the potential to save lives. However,

19

the loss of psuche indicator can also remove all possibility of actuality or loss of organ
specific capacities useful for his body.
Russell (2007) tries to give a critical view of the philosophy of Aristotle. The
notion that the soul is regarded as forms of body certainly no different with a spatial
form. Russell asked, what the similarities owned by the spirit and form? In short, what is
conveyed by Aristotle always correspond with his views to another. Soul and form has
similarities when is able deliver the kind of purpose of something. Russell pointed out the
marble and a statue are made from marble. Marble yet has any form, means also does not
have has any unity. But when a sculptor made a statue, then the marble had to have a unit
called with a particular name. As with shape and spirit, both are able to make the body as
an organic unity, and also had a goal as a unit (Russell, 2007: 229-30).
2.

Aristotle said: "Good is happy"
Implementation of euthanasia later be questioned the worth or not, as performed

on a human as well as a moral agent. It is possible for some people felt the same as the
cannibal act. There are similarities as human rights that makes a man should not do that
to the same type. It is very easy and are traditionally exist in the middle of human life.
Deontic a certainly would simply said that when a human being obligation is to maintain
life, so murder of any kind should not happen.
This is because in deontology, then that will be followed is the deontology of
action and deontology of regulation. (Ali, 2009: 143) It is clear, ethical obligation as
opposed to ethical virtue or lack of virtue is dependent on the theory of value. Then
somebody or the human person does not mean at all for a moral action. It can also be
regarded that an action may be true and it is known although it is not coming from
somebody that has a good motivation. (Ali, 2009: 48) So the death caused by the other
person will always be regarded as murder.
Therefore, this kind of thing, by Bertens feel are our duty to clarify the term
"murder". When viewed from the side of the English language, two words; murder and
killing are words with the same meaning but different value content. The difference is in
the scale of general and special, murder surely killing while killing is not necessarily
murder. Meanwhile in Indonesian, either murder or killing translated as murder,
disappearances lives, or attempt to take the life. This condition is indeed steer human
moral action on the direction that is difficult. Euthanasia if regarded from the standpoint
20

of language like this, until whenever certainly will not be accepted by people. It could be
also for this reason, too, why the case yet legalized euthanasia in the Indonesia.
Euthanasia should be considered from the point of view of virtue or goodness.
When the deontological ethics or ethics of obligation completely ignores the values of
goodness and focused on the intent or purpose, then all the implementation of euthanasia
on any basis will never becomes allowed. Meanwhile if all regarded as teleological or by
purpose or principle of benefit, then the act of euthanasia would be considered arbitrary
and is considered cheap.
According to Rachels, virtue ethics of are ethics of middle way to resolve ethical
issues that very extreme. There were three major advantages that existed at the ethics of
virtue, which is: 1. As a moral motivation, 2. As doubts about the impartiality of that
"ideal", 3. As the explanatory human psychological conditions. These three advantages of
using virtue ethics these were already very clear, positioning itself as a moral subject who
seeks to understand all moral decisions. The initiative a person as a human not always be
restrained or directed toward one type of condition only. There are things such as love,
compassion, and sacrifice will not be understood by the stream of ethics of theories such
as utilitarianism and deontology or teleology (Rachels, 2004: 326-329).
In this case, according to the theories of ethics of, the ethics of virtue as a peeler
the ethical problems forcing euthanasia carried out based on the standard of virtue, not an
obligation or purpose. Euthanasia as a moral action must be linked to the perpetrators of
human morality which is. When discussing human so there is always the holistic side and
partikulir side in each study. So the views were afterwards taken about euthanasia should
be seen from a holistic and also partikulir side equally. In chapter explanation of the types
of euthanasia, acquired a form euthanasia called auto-euthanasia. A moral action
conducted by a patient with written affidavit to be killed when they have no hope. This
sort of thing are the emphasis that comes from virtue ethics of. When a man has time to
steer his death properly and wisely, so that a better option or at least more feasible.
Goodness embodied in the ethics of virtue is always related to what we have
earlier called human nature. As an example which has also been mentioned earlier,
generosity is a middle way or the virtue to wasteful nature and stingy. The concept is then
made ethics of virtue is very close to the issue of heroism or holiness. According to
Bertens, there are three conditions that make a person entitled to be called holy, which is:

21

1. A person shall be called holy when he doing his duty in a state where the most
people will not do their duty, carried away by the desire of irregular or self-interest.
2. Someone will be called holy when he doing his duty in a state where most
people would not do, not because of tremendous self-discipline rather easily and without
any special effort.
3. Someone called saints or heroes, if he did more than required (to Bertens, 2013:
177-179).
Approximately how the view of ethics of obligations and ethics of purpose when
dealing with the three criteria of this holiness or heroism? Everything would be blurred
and becomes uncertain. It's understandable, considering the three largest flow of ethical
theory are of obligation, purpose and virtue, which should help each other and
complementary. The virtue in this case occupied an important position as it works as a
controller for the two other ethical theory. Rules and purpose, or in other circumstances is
intent and the result is basically a very important thing for a moral action.
3. The virtue of the Euthanasia: An Ethics of Middle Way
Ethical issues that arise from the act of euthanasia is indeed a thorny issue.
However, as revealed by John Keown that there is purpose in the form of assuring that
euthanasia is the only way out for patients who have suffered so much. Despite the belief
that the death would be better for a patient, but the loss of life which is characterized by
stopping all movement, is certainly not a trivial ethically issues. Particularly if be seen
from the standpoint of ethics of Aristotle, that the loss of life means the same as the loss
of everything, because the soul and body are inseparable.
Aristotle defines the soul in three definitions, namely: a) The form of a natural
body that is potentially alive; b) The first actuality of a natural body that has life
potentiality; and c) The first actuality of an organized body naturally. These definition
given by Aristotle, it is also problematic. Natural body requires a more detailed
explanation and depth. When the body is called natural as he described with,
"The nature is the shape and form of things that have within Themselves a
principle of motion and rest; the form is not separable except in the account."
(193b4-5 in Douglas, 2013: 51)
22

The most important ethically issues were can be found in the expression of
Aristotle above there are two; first: the importance of life, as well as the importance of
the body. Second, the body is not important as it did not as important as the lives. This
has become base of the problem did not stop debated until today. Douglas shares the view
of Aristotle through the claims, "Potentially alive". Aristotle considers something
"Potentially alive" far below the first potentiality. Indirectly, when human beings are
capable of running in the second degree of actuality, so the mental state of this condition
is a condition that is under the first potentiality, and the means are at the lowest level
(Douglas, 2013: 52).
For the implementation of euthanasia, Aristotle's view is very important to hold
onto deciding one conclusion. Bodies and lives, are two things that can not be separated
from each other. The existence of both were able to create biological life being enjoyed
by human. But, among the body and soul are also the two things that can never be
separated. The soul is the place where all the possible or potentials emerging, developing
and later waiting to be actualized. So, the loss of life would mean the loss of the body
because there is no longer movement. But if the later the lives just to survive only as a
support for the body which is are no longer able to think or decide, so how?
The soul humans as important as the body, as do the lives. The pain be perceived
a human being, indeed removes happiness which is the source of virtue. For Aristotle
happiness is standard and becomes the most important thing. Ethics of middle way could
be offered by Aristotle towards this confusion is by maintaining that whatever is able to
make happy then that's the virtue. In modern ethics, which is has been closely affiliated
with social sciences such as psychology tries to maintain that there are always other
possibilities. Does somebody dying really can not feel or understand the meaning of
happiness? Or whether is actually what makes a happy, healing or just a quick death?
The most important question that should be asked when there is a conflict of
moral of obligation or interest is all about which one is better? Of course the next
direction of this kind of question is which one is more important? In the case of
euthanasia question is, "Which Virtue can be considered more important when dealing
with a disease that has been very severe?"
When we drag into the real case, that is when the decision regarding the removal a
patientthe lives or decided to be unplugged his life, then the condition of the doctors or
23

medical staff are in a big dilemma. A medic who was given the responsibility to decide
whether or not the occurrence of euthanasia will always be problematic in balancing rules
with consequences which may arise. Virtue ethics as described in the previous chapter
examines the basic character or nature of human beings as a source genuine virtue. The
problem that later emerged is the nature or character human is very rarely the same basis.
So giving decision or determination of actions to be taken on the issue of euthanasia is
also feared a new problem (Wilcockson, 2008: 57).
Those things upon, indeed reasoned, after all the decision for the implementation
of euthanasia is not an easy decision. Let alone human, an animal even deadly decision
must be considered thereby deeply. When afterwards this is was pulled using ethics of
virtue and strive to be consistent with the magic of a good. so, a sense of trust that exists
between patients and doctors is probably the answer to this problem.
As well as that expressed by the President's Commission that in fact receiving or
refuse to perform euthanasia for a patient or a person suffering from an acute illness will
depend on another moral considerations. Things like the balance among losses and
benefits, obligations of others towards patients who will died, the risks imposed on those
who became responsible for implementing, and also the problem of no less importance,
the certainty of the outcome measures (Shannon, 1995 : 78).
The extreme philosophical schools as well as existentialism assume virtue of
action is essential. As cited by Kevin O'Donnell (2009) in his book "Postmodernism" that
Sartre once said: "... we have to or surpass the others, or allow ourselves to be exceeded
by it. The essence of the relationship among consciousness is a conflict ... "Although not
explained more clearly, Sartre wants that virtue somehow in any form must be
accomplished and sought after by human. Because otherwise so did not at all a dynamic
that makes life to be perfect (O'Donnell, 2009: 109).
Derrida even a very famous with his theory, believes that there will be no
community without the confidence and trust to others. Bond of trust that is meant by
Derrida of course not as innocent who most people believe. Derrida refers to the trust as
an act of openness to others. If it is associated with moral action, the greater openness and
understanding are built bridges with no limit on the needs of others (O'Donnell, 2009:
110).
A new reality to be conveyed here is the schools of philosophy that is sometimes
steer to difficulty of the decision set. But it turns out in such extreme flow streams
24

existentialism and postmodernism alone was invited to concern. In another sense, the
need to open up and becomes virtue, and virtue as a moral standard is human need. When
we use earlier terms, the need to share and realize the needs of others is the basic attitude
human or human nature.
This is important, considering the vulnerable human beings separated by a
dogmatic and ideological rigidity. When the extreme ideology is able affirming a holistic
attachment, so ideology or thinking beyond that is certainly more receptive. When
determination, love, art, spirit and similar to it can be regarded as virtues, then of course
that leads to the sacrifice or heroism is a virtue more.
Euthanasia in this case, not just a process to kill or eliminate the pain that is to a
human body. Whether passive or active, the implementation of euthanasia can be
considered as a heroic of action. Social scheme roughly like this: Letting yourself die
prematurely. The term prematurely here really connected with social views, not the views
on specific philosophy or religion. Someone who is able give his life so that the social
situation in the surrounding areas or more generally outside itself an act of heroic. It is an
obligation that is not done by many other people could even be in some cases such as
auto-euthanasia instead is more of a liability action themselves. And who knows where it
comes from, Aristotle seems to be quite happy for virtue like this.

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