31 March 2015
Critical Source Analysis
The topic that I selected for this critical source analysis is euthanasia. This is an urging and controversial issue that concerns every person on earth; therefore, everyone should form his/her opinion on this point. The two sources under review are: BBC - Ethics - Euthanasia: Anti-Euthanasia Arguments and The Shona Conception of Euthanasia: A Quest to Depart from Zimbabwe Tradition. I spent quite a lot of time finding the first source on Bbc.co.uk site, because I paid attention to other current news on a variety of topics in addition to euthanasia. As for the other source, I managed to locate it in a library database after reviewing several articles that were not quite appropriate in order to meet my research aims. I chose this article among others, because it was specific and case based. The key words that I entered into the search engine were anti euthanasia and pro euthanasia.
The first source goes without an author; however it might have a corporate one: BBC Company. The British Broadcasting Company founded in 1922 is a well-known resource that sheds light on recent news and events. The mission of the company is to enrich peoples lives with resources that inform, educate, and entertain (BBC - Mission and Values - Inside The BBC). This source of information is very credible, since one of the BBCs values is to provide true and relevant information to people. In addition, annual reports and accounts, as well as summary work plans and statements of policy are available on the site, which ensures freedom of information sharing. BBC informs on a variety of topics and its news reports are understandable to wide audience, which makes it possible to communicate most urging discussions, like euthanasia, to everyone.
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In the article the authors take the anti-euthanasia approach and discuss several arguments to support it: contradiction to the will of God; breach of sanctity of life; the slippery slope claim; devaluation of human life; consideration of patients best interests; provision of proper palliative care; regulation problems; control of doctors power; excessive pressure on patients (BBC - Ethics - Euthanasia: Anti-Euthanasia Arguments). The main claim is advanced while the authors enrich upon every argument listed above. The easy for perception list of reasons against euthanasia is very clear and understandable. The major points of the article are that proper palliative care, high ethical standards, equality in valuing ones life, elimination of pressure on patients, minimization of doctors power, etc. serve as an excellent alternative to euthanasia making it unnecessary.
The author is rather convincing, because the language that is used throughout the article is rather persuasive and the arguments discussed are the most popular ones. However, there are no references to external research, which makes the article sound like a personal opinion. In addition, the arguments are reiterated throughout the text and sometimes are not explained clearly enough.
I think the article is rather long, so it takes quite a lot of time to read it. However, the text organization that the author used is rather convenient, as well as the outline provided at the top of the page and hyperlinks to the respective parts of the text.
This source is rather useful for my research as a starting point for discussion, because it summarizes the main arguments against euthanasia and briefly discusses each of them.
The author of the second source is Munyaradzi Mawere who is in the way of getting a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to this, professor Mawere gives lectures at Universidade Pedagogica, Mozambique (Langaa).
On the example of the Shona traditions of Zimbabwe the author explores the key arguments that prevent euthanasia from becoming the right for every person. The author starts the discussion from general considerations on euthanasia moving forward to the Shonas arguments against it. He holds the position that dogmatism, following traditional conservative approach in treating euthanasia, as well as cultural bias are inappropriate and do not allow the progress in society.
The author is convincing, because the arguments are described from various perspectives, the examples used in the text are bright and catching; however, the language used in the narration is rather neutral than persuasive. One of the problems of this article is that euthanasia is discussed predominantly from the cultural perspective; in addition, the language used in the conclusion is not strong enough in order to affirm the authors position towards the given issue.
Overall, the article is quite good; it outlines the moderating approach to euthanasia. However, after the sections providing conceptual analysis and arguments for euthanasia the author chooses to use arguments against euthanasia from the Shonas culture only. This acts as a kind of a limitation for the research. My further observation is that the article does not attempt to resolve the controversy of euthanasia, but undertakes the middle way, since it is not clear what position is defended by the author.
This source might be useful for my research, because it has a lot of references to other articles that view euthanasia from various perspectives. It is also useful as an initial reading, because the moderate position taken by the author allows a reader to create his/her own opinion on the issue and develop it further. Moreover, the cultural specifics of the Shona provide unique precedent for anti-euthanasia arguments. However, strong parallels might be drawn between these arguments and other research in the area, which is an interesting topic for development.