When it comes to the morality of euthanasia, there are two major schools of thought: Kantianism and utilitarianism. Each approach has its own set of pros and cons, and neither is definitively right or wrong.
Kantianism, as espoused by philosopher Immanuel Kant, holds that morality is a matter of universal principles. These principles are absolute and cannot be violated under any circumstances. As such, euthanasia would be considered morally wrong because it involves taking a life.
Utilitarianism, on the other hand, focuses on the outcomes of an action. The morally correct course of action is the one that produces the most happiness or pleasure for the greatest number of people involved. In the case of euthanasia, if the person who is being euthanized is suffering and has no hope of recovery, then utilitarianism would dictate that ending their life is the most humane option.
Both Kantianism and utilitarianism are valid ethical frameworks, and there are good arguments to be made for both sides. In the end, it is up to each individual to decide which approach they think is more morally defensible.
Euthanasia is the deliberate taking of another person’s life, with his or herself consent, and it is referred to as such in Latin. Euthanasia is one of the most contentious social-ethical concerns we face today because it involves a difficult topic area, with little agreement on what standpoint one should take.
Morality is often thought of in terms of absolutes: something is either morally right or it is morally wrong. However, many moral philosophers have argued that morality is not so simple and that there may be cases where an action could be both morally right and morally wrong. In this essay, I will explore the euthanasia debate from a Kantian and a Utilitarian perspective in order to try to determine whether euthanasia is ever morally permissible.
Kantianism is an ethical theory developed by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Kantian ethics are based on the idea of the categorical imperative, which is the belief that there are certain actions which are intrinsically good or bad, and that we have a moral obligation to do what is good and avoid what is bad. Kantian ethics are deontological, which means that the morality of an action is based on its conformity to a universal moral law, rather than on its consequences.
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory developed by the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory, which means that the morality of an action is based on its consequences. The goal of utilitarianism is to maximize utility, which Bentham defined as “the greatest happiness for the greatest number”. So, according to utilitarianism, an action is morally right if it leads to more happiness than any other alternative action.
There are two main types of euthanasia: passive and active. Passive euthanasia is when someone withholds medical treatment from a person who is dying, with the intention of hastening their death. Active euthanasia is when someone deliberately takes a life-ending action, such as administering a lethal injection, in order to end the suffering of a terminally ill person.
Kantianism would generally disapprove of both passive and active euthanasia. The reason for this is that Kantian ethics are based on the idea of the categorical imperative, which is the belief that there are certain actions which are intrinsically good or bad, and that we have a moral obligation to do what is good and avoid what is bad. One of the main objections to euthanasia is that it violates the sanctity of life, which is an intrinsic value. Therefore, from a Kantian perspective, euthanasia is always morally wrong.
Utilitarianism, on the other hand, would generally approve of active euthanasia, but not passive euthanasia. The reason for this is that utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory, which means that the morality of an action is based on its consequences. The goal of utilitarianism is to maximize utility, which Bentham defined as “the greatest happiness for the greatest number”. So, from a utilitarian perspective, an action is morally right if it leads to more happiness than any other alternative action.
In the case of active euthanasia, there is often a clear net benefit in terms of utility: the terminally ill person’s suffering is ended and they are prevented from experiencing a prolonged and painful death. However, in the case of passive euthanasia, there is often no clear net benefit in terms of utility: the terminally ill person’s suffering is not ended, and they may experience a prolonged and painful death.
It should be noted that there are some cases where both Kantianism and utilitarianism would approve of euthanasia. For example, if a terminally ill person requests to be euthanized in order to end their suffering, then both theories would approve of active euthanasia, as it would be in line with the person’s intrinsic value of autonomy. Similarly, if a terminally ill person is in a vegetative state and their quality of life is very poor, then both theories might approve of passive euthanasia, as it would be in line with the goal of maximizing utility.
The intentional death of another person is regarded by most rational people as a fundamental evil act. However, when that individual gives his or her consent to do so, this appears to create an exceptional circumstance. The most typical example of euthanasia is where the individual who wants to die has an illness that causes severe suffering and will result in death in the not-too-distant future.
In such a case, is it morally permissible to help this person die? There are two dominant schools of thought in ethical philosophy that can be applied to this case: Kantianism and Utilitarianism. According to Kantian moral philosophy, an action can only be considered good if it is done out of a sense of duty, that is, if the motivation for the action is not self-interested.
In other words, an act is only considered moral if it is done for the sake of doing what is right, and not for any other reason. utilitarianism, on the other hand, takes a more consequentialist approach, and holds that an act is only moral if it leads to the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
In conclusion, there is no single ethical theory that provides a clear and definitive answer to the question of whether or not euthanasia is morally permissible. However, Kantianism and utilitarianism are two of the most prominent ethical theories, and they offer different perspectives on the morality of euthanasia.