Deontology euthanasia essay

If a potential treatment will lead to a patient being free from pain and able to perform daily activities this is a somewhat rough definition, but enough for our purposes then the year in which this outcome is expected can be given a value of 1. Each following year can then be given a value between 0 and 1 according to the expected lasting impacts of the treatment.

Thus, allocating spending to different forms of treatment for different patients can be objectively calculated against a common standard in order to inform those spending decisions in terms of where the better consequences might be secured.

When is euthanasia justified?

If the positive consequences of spending money on treating patients who might be cured or helped to have a higher quality of life are greater than spending money to keep people alive who either wish to die and have a diminishing quality of life or who are in a PVS, then spending on the former is morally defensible rather than spending on the latter.

Again, you might consider how loving it is to spend money keeping a patient in a PVS alive versus investing in research for cures and treatments that could improve the quality of life for other patients in a world where resources are finite. This argument proceeds from the fairly plausible assumption that people should have the right to make their own decisions and should be able to decide the paths of their own lives.

If the right to choose our own path applies in life, then why would this not apply in respect of our choice of how and when to die? If you subscribe to this principle, then you seemingly must believe that a person voluntarily requesting euthanasia should not be denied the right to die, unless their dying would cause harm to another person. If we discount emotional harm because many normal things that we do seem to cause emotional harm to other people — getting a job over another candidate, for example then it is not easy to envisage a circumstance in which a terminally ill patient, requesting a merciful death before their suffering becomes too extreme, would have a death that causes physical harm to another person.

Therefore, if we believe in the power and moral right of the individual to act in the way that they deem correct, unless physically harming another, then we must seemingly allow that voluntary euthanasia is morally justifiable. Singer sums up the position:. If we return to the earlier mentioned possibility of a letter of intent , written prior to the condition taking hold, then in certain instances non-voluntary euthanasia may also be justified on this basis — though of course, such cases seem to a species of voluntary euthanasia. It is for you to consider if a theory of personal autonomy can be extended to familial autonomy in such a way.

It is now time to give anti-euthanasia, and anti-active euthanasia, arguments their fair hearing. The Sanctity of Life ethic is usually founded on religious, and specifically Christian, thinking. For Sanctity of Life theorists and supporters as described in this section, problems with the quality of a life never undermine the ultimate value and worth of a life.

A non-religious person may prefer to speak of an absolute right to life that cannot be taken away through non-voluntary euthanasia, and cannot be revoked by personal decree in the context of voluntary euthanasia. However, more often, the view is supported by Biblical reference. Linking the Sanctity of Life view to both abortion and euthanasia, Mother Teresa gave a statement of the appeal of this ethical stance:. For me, life is the most beautiful gift of God to mankind, therefore people and nations who destroy life by abortion and euthanasia are the poorest.

A Catholic Declaration of Faith is clear and absolute in nature:. For it is a question of the violation of the divine law, an offence against the dignity of the human person, a crime against life, and an attack on humanity. No legislator, guided by moral ideals, can ever morally recommend this type of killing, whether motivated by a mistaken sense of mercy or not.

Let us return to the Catholic Declaration of Faith. The document states that:. This does not mean that Christians oppose palliative care a type of care that does not attempt to extend life, so much as make an individual as comfortable as possible as they face the end of their life. However, it does explain why a life should be seen through to its natural end and why it might therefore be viewed as morally wrong to shorten it.

This objection does not require any view regarding the Sanctity of Life or a deontological duty not to kill; indeed, the slippery slope objection is both teleological in nature and does not even require a denial that euthanasia might be desirable in certain instances when viewed in the abstract or in isolation.

To see the strength of such an objection, consider earlier pro-euthanasia arguments couched in terms of resource allocation and personal autonomy. After all, if you are a teleologist perhaps, an act utilitarian you have already given up ideas concerning absolute rules against certain actions. It therefore may be objected that either life is sacred, or it is not, and if it is not then we may end up in a situation we find utterly morally indefensible even if we start from apparently moral motivations. Most people might view such enabling of suicide for patients with mental health needs as being very different from euthanasia for PVS patients or the terminally ill, but if personal autonomy justifies euthanasia then how can we justifiably draw a strong enough line so as to allow some people to choose death, but not others?

Again, it may be objected that either personal autonomy matters or it does not. If we enable a person to have their life ended, then it is obvious they can never come to a different view on the value of their life at a later stage, as they might have had they still been alive.

Five Arguments For Euthanasia

If non-voluntary euthanasia is granted, and a legal, moral and cultural line in the sand is thereby crossed, may not elderly patients feel pressured to not be a burden to their families? May not the financially well-off elderly feel pressure to allow their children to inherit any accumulated wealth rather than see that wealth spent on their own care?

Granting non-voluntary euthanasia in even a small number of cases may, over time, send us down a slippery slope to the non-morally defensible euthanising of many other types of patients who, as things stand, are quite content to remain alive since they have no reason to consider other options. Why think of negative consequences from a change in the law, when these consequences might not happen? Indeed, some slippery slope arguments are logical fallacies if they are premised on the idea that a possible negative outcome must, of necessity, follow from some change in policy.

The slippery slope objection suggests that the negative outcomes might be probable, rather than be certain. Thus, a response should deal with the issue of probable negative consequences, rather than cheapening a plausibly reasonable objection through wilful misrepresentation of its structure. Researching the situation in Belgium, where the law regarding euthanasia is perhaps the most liberal in the world, should provide a good grounding to either support or oppose this line of thought, as would considering the application of Rule Utilitarianism.

Deontological Ethics

This objection brings together two distinct, but relevantly similar, lines of thought. Firstly, it might be suggested that to euthanise those who are terminally ill, or those in a PVS, is to kill people earlier than would otherwise happen and thereby to artificially eliminate their chances of living to experience a cure to their condition. At the very least, if not a cure, euthanised people are not around to benefit from any step-forward in treatment that might alleviate their suffering.

It might be thought plausible that a person with a severe and worsening disease who is not euthanised could have their condition and pain carefully managed by skilled healthcare professionals so as to greatly diminish any suffering. However, he urges that:. Against a very small number of unnecessary deaths that might occur if euthanasia is legalised we must place the very large amount of pain and distress that will be suffered if euthanasia is not legalised, by patients who really are terminally ill.

Whether or not palliative care is able to reduce suffering to the extent suggested by the objection is something you may wish to consider and further research, as it would seem to be an empirical claim requiring contemporary evidence to further the discussion. The distinction between active and passive euthanasia is thought to be crucial for medical ethics.

The idea is that it is permissible, at least in some cases, to withhold treatment and allow a patient to die, but it is never permissible to take any direct action designed to kill the patient. This doctrine seems to be accepted by most doctors. Recall from the chapter on Natural Law ethics that one of the primary precepts for human beings is the preservation of life.

A secondary precept, derived from this primary precept, would certainly seem to deny the moral acceptability of artificial shortening of life. Assisted Suicide Laws in the United States. Johnson, O. Ethics: Selections from classical and contemporary writers 11th ed. Kozlova, A. Kozlova, Anna.

Kant and Mill on Physician-Assisted Suicide. The newsletter highlights recent selections from the journal and useful tips from our blog. Inquiries Journal provides undergraduate and graduate students around the world a platform for the wide dissemination of academic work over a range of core disciplines. Representing the work of students from hundreds of institutions around the globe, Inquiries Journal 's large database of academic articles is completely free. Learn more Blog Submit. Disclaimer: content on this website is for informational purposes only.

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Case Summary Dr. On the metaphysics of morals and ethics. Quill, T. Death and Dignity.

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From the Inquiries Journal Blog. Debating Voluntary Human Adult Euthanasia. Monthly Newsletter Signup The newsletter highlights recent selections from the journal and useful tips from our blog. Follow us to get updates from Inquiries Journal in your daily feed. One of the fastest growing medical phenomena is that of human euthanasia. No matter what the argument or the entity involved, the common question seems to be whether or not the act of human euthanasia is an ethically acceptable practice.

Frequently a person takes a stand on human euthanasia that is established on misinformation In the world, everything is as it is, and everything happens as it does happen: in it no value does exist-and if it did exist it would have no value.

Elizabeth Telfer

If there is any value that does have value, it must lie outside the whole sphere of what happens and is the case. For all Follow SP. Latest in Philosophy Comparative Philosophy. Questions regarding the very foundations of our reality abound throughout the history of world philosophies. It is not often that one questions the nature of space, in fact, most people understand extension as independent of their mind as well as the objects that appear in their surrounding world.

However, in a radical twist, fitting for the revolutionary Home Page Utilitarianism and Euthanasia Essay. Show More. Utilitarianism comes with three implications of the principle of utilitarianism; We should always seek the greatest good for the greatest number.

The ethics of euthanasia | Australian Medical Student Journal

We should always aim to maximize net happiness and Actions are right in proportion to their benefit. We should not think of ourselves but think of the whole group and what we can do to maximize happiness. It says that one cannot privilege their own happiness over the happiness of others. Consequentialism is a thesis which claims we should evaluate the morality of an act based on outcome not intentions. Therefore, an act is right if it produces more good consequences than bad consequences, for all parties involved, given the reasonable alternatives.