Euthanasia Moral Philosophy: Euthanasia Has Been A Term Paper

Length: 3 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Business - Ethics Type: Term Paper Paper: #15819159 Related Topics: Morality, Assisted Suicide, Afterlife, Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Excerpt from Term Paper :


Moral Philosophy: Euthanasia

Euthanasia has been a hotly debated topic, off and on, for several decades. Public opinion was enflamed by the case of Dr. Kevorkian, in which the doctor claimed to be helping people claim their right to a dignified death. Euthanasia, also termed assisted suicide, has colored the moral discussions of individuals since the time of early philosophers. In taking a view point, people usually choose a philosophy based on their personal ethic. Either they say that no one has the right to choose the time they die, or they say that it is based on the utility of the decision. Whether that person takes the extreme Kantian view or the utilitarian, they have made a decision that can have consequences for others besides themselves. This essay will outline the philosophies of Kant and the Utilitarians, discuss how they look at euthanasia, and give an opinion as to the correctness of either stance.

Philosophers generally look at a question, without regard to the question, from all angles. Kant did not decide upon the justifiability of a question based on the ethics of the decision. He believed in a direct cause and effect based on the morality of the question. He said that because it is impossible for the...


The other stance, utilitarianism, has a different method of determining the right and wrong of a decision. They have a belief in the pleasure vs. pain principle. If an action will cause pain then would say that a person should not do it. If an action will cause pleasure then that should be the thing to do. They do believe in looking at the consequences of an action. For example, they would look at unprotected sex, even though there is pleasure involved, as a poor decision because of the possible pain of either an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease. Thus, both Kant and the Utilitarians expressed opinions with regard to euthanasia.

Kant stated that he was not a believer in the practice of suicide. Looking at his cause and effect argument it is easy to see why. Euthanasia has the intended effect of eliminating the suffering that a person endures, but that cannot be a certainty. What if a hell-type afterlife truly exists? Kant also believed that there are moral absolutes. Sometimes an action, or even a thought is wrong, because reason deems that is wrong. Kant's view stems from a belief in moral imperatives. People do not act morally because they want to, but because they should. Morals go beyond desires. If an action is correct because it is the moral action, then despite what a person desires, they should take the moral course. In the case of suicide, it has already been established that Kant thought that it was morally wrong. It does not matter that a person is in pain, or that they want to die. The morality of the question trumps every other consideration. Since killing oneself…

Sources Used in Documents:


Rachels, J., & Rachels, S. (2006). The Right Thing to do: Basic Readings in Moral Philosophy, (4th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill, Education.

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