The suicide case of Edward Downes — a renowned British composer and conductor — and his wife Joan was covered in the media due to the conflicting opinions about their decision. In their later years, Downes and his wife had a difficult life. At the age of eighty-five, Downes lost his eyesight and hearing ability. His life was entirely dependent on his wife Joan, who, before the act, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer with little time available for a living (Gibson, 2014). After receiving the news, Downes expressed his feelings that life without his wife, with whom he spent 54 years, would be meaningless.
In my opinion, the inability to cope with the lost senses and devastation from the inevitable loss of his beloved wife and the most favorite activity — listening to music — may justify his decision. Euthanasia was a decision that Downes and his wife took due to the unavailability of choice and utilities to enjoy life to its fullest (Gibson, 2014). His mental state and perception of the world deteriorated from continuous stress, and hence he and his wife, after a long time of contemplation, came to the decision to use the services of Dignitas.
Ethical relativism is the perception that no universal would apply to people regardless of context. The relativist might not concur with somebody else’s convictions and may consider them to be misinformed and hurtful, but attributes those contrasts to individual conclusions and inclinations instead of veering off from an ethical rule that applies to everybody in all times and places (Gibson, 2014). In other words, ethical relativism does not acknowledge universal forms of justice or truth, which may pose a challenge to such a perspective. In addition, there is no compelling incentive to be moral if you do not want to fit in society. This leaves the notion of morality with an unrequited presence in human lives.
Although the theory aims to hold neutrality, there are some exceptions, the justification of which cannot be seen as valid. One such exception could be genocide, rape, and harm to innocents. This poses a major challenge to the theory, which greatly resonates with me as such harm should be universally accepted as a negative action. It cannot be justified or argued to be a natural development; these actions could be seen as actions against humanity.
Gibson, K. (2014). An introduction to ethics. Pearson.