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Euthanasia- good death

Voluntary- assisted suicide which includes a person wishing to die but can not do it themselves

Non Voluntary- Where the person is in no position and the decision is made by someone else

Euthanaisa raises a lot of issues including sancity of life and quality of life

Sancity of life- All life is sacred. Humans are created in God's implying divinity. Humans are unique.

All lives are sacred- You can not take the life of another, it is equally sacred as yours. Some argue life should be preserved and of high quality. But a suffering person does not have a high quality of life.

Quality of life- Many individuals feel if life has an unnaceptably bad quality than it had  before, to end life is then a personal choice. It is argued docs also have a role in deciding whether the loss of life is temporary or permanent.

Those against quality of life say it is a difficult concept to judge.

Some says doctors should not play god.    Doctor/Patient relation- Hippocratic oath of doctors to save lives. There is the argument that if doctors were given the power to kill it would go contray to their hippocratic oath.

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Arguements of Euthanasia

Slippery Slope argument- If Euthanasia were legal, the practice of killing patients would become regular and human life would no longer  be sacred. Also, voluntary euthanasia will lead to non voluntary euthanasia leading to involuntary euthanasia.

Criticsm- Logical fallacy. If a sensible amount were permitted it would not lead to extremes.

Right to life- Individual owns their body. This raises the question of individual autonomy. Bentham was certain on individual freedom, the right to life equates to the right to death. Individuals should be be able to decide how and when to die. Those who oppose say the right to life is concerned with protection, not death.

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Christian & Natural Law attitudes

Christian views

  • Voluntary euthanasia is suicide.
  • The body is the temple of the holy spirit so to kill that body is immoral. It is intrinsically wrong
  • Situation ethics allows euthanasia on the basis that Gregory Pence says allowing voluntary euthanasia is a moral thing to do, forcing someone to die a slow suffering is wrong

Natural Law

  • Assisted suicide goes against the primary precepts on the preservation of life
  • The role of doctors is to preserve life. The purpose of a doctor is not to kill. Euthanasia runs contray to the Golden rule of Jesus which states it is wrong to take the life of another since you would not wish it on yourself.
  • New Natural Law promotes harmony within the individual

Kant- Duty is to care for the sick

  • Pain is not the right criteria for euthanasia
  • The idea of autonomy is central to Kant's ethical philosophy as the idea of autonomy poses an issue because it is vitally important yet it has to be set aside when it comes to euthanasia
  • Assisted suicide creates a society far from the summum bonum
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Kant & Utilitarianism

 Utilitarians- confused souls who differ on viewpoints

  • Most modern utilitarians oppose involuntary euthanasia because it runs contray to the greatest good for the greatest no. of people
  • Involunrary euthanasia could be seen wrong if we take the slippery slope argument- docs are caring people, if IE were legalised it would make people scared
  • Some see the desantification of human life positively
  • All sentient beings would be equal and £ would be saved if people were euthanised - Greatest good for greatest number would maximise
  • Other benifits include less stress on family, which makes a society which value all human life
  • Utilitarians allow voluntary and non voluntary euthanaisa on several grounds



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Negative Utilitarianism

Principle of Mercy

  •  Is an important part of a theory known as negative utilitarianism
  • Painism is the theory put foward that it is pain, not pleasure which determines utility
  • The prevention of pain is the sole moral issue that should influence moral decisions making
  • Argues suffering is the only evil and should be combated. It is never justified to harm one person for the mercy of another
  • Ryder's painism raises principle of double effect as he argues there is a line between deliberately ending life and ending suffering.
  • Ryder says pain should not be relieved for the masses but the individual

JS Mill- in favour of voluntary euthanasia.

  •  It is about freedom of choice


  • Taking of life is barbaric
  • But asked for euthanasia on his death bed
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