Euthanasia

These are a set of cards to help you understand all of the different ethical views for AS ethics regarding Euthanasia

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Natural Law:-

It Goes against PRESERVATION OF LIFE as we are not preserving it but getting rid of it.

It Goes against WORSHIP GOD we are playing god when deciding to die. God decides when it is our time, it is not up to us.

It Goes against ORDER IN SOCIETY as it is against the law. Euthanasia can only be attained abroad but there is a reason why! We shouldn't do it! If it is made legal, it will cause a slippery slope

It Goes against REPRODUCTION as once dead you cannot reproduce life.

REAL AND APPARENT GOODS - the real good is to stay alive, the apparent is to die. But what about the pain?

if we die, we cannot reach eudaemonia!

These principles count for PASSIVE, ACTIVE, VOLUNTRY, NONVOLUNTRY AND INVOLUNTRY

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Utilitarianism (ACT):-

Apply the principle of utility, greatest good for greatest number. If the family do not want the person to die, they are the greatest number and so euthanasia would not be possible. However if his family agreed on his death it is possible. 

HEDONIC CALCULUS, measure REDPRIC, how much pain if it’s not committed? How long for? This accepts euthanasia as the pain of living would outweigh due to the pleasure of dying and not having to suffer from the pain anymore.

An act utilitarian (e.g. Jeremy Bentham) would apply the principle of utility, greatest good for greatest number. If the family does not want the person to die, they are the greatest number and so euthanasia would not be possible. However if his family agreed on his death it is possible. 


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Utilitarianism (RULE):-

A rule utilitarian (e.g. john Stuart mill) would make a universal rule that is likely to bring the best outcome of happiness that society agrees on. However, if we accepted euthanasia then it could cause the slippery slope, if we did not people would complain.

higher and lower pleasures - If it does not affect your higher pleasures (reading, thinking) but your lower pleasures (eating, sex) then it’s better to live than die. If it was a disease such as Alzheimer’s or dementia then it would be better to die as it damages your higher pleasures. For an example of this – STEPHAN HAWKING

Quality vs Quantity! Mill considers not the amount of pleasure but the quality of it.

Peter Singer – Preference utilitarianism would say listens to the minority and understands that they also need to be considered. The minority is usually the people who want euthanasia – and so in peter singers case we should weigh out why they want to die then we should let them.

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Kant:-

DUTY FOR DUTYS SAKE – conflicting duties! The duty of a doctor (passive or active – voluntary euthanasia) eg Dr Cox, is to abide by the Hippocratic oath and so they should NOT allow passive or active euthanasia. Our duty is to follow the law! The law says no – so we shouldn’t.

Hypothetical imperative – to do x for the sake of y (in-voluntary euthanasia) is wrong! Also to not allow euthanasia just because we don’t want that person out of our lives is wrong. The categorical imperative – to do x for the sake of x would mean to allow euthanasia as we are doing it for their sake – not ours! – so let’s look at the principles – can it be universalized? No because it would cause the slippery slope argumenttreat people as an end in themselves! We shouldn’t say no just for our own benefit! So in this case it would be allowed. Kingdom of ends? It would cause the slippery slope if we allowed it.

Kant’s ethics are unclear when looking at euthanasia.

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Christian Ethics:-

The suffering at the end of life represents the suffering Jesus had at the end of his.

Sanctity of Life! Life is a sacred gift from God and we should not abuse this gift by committing euthanasia.

Old Testament states that euthanasia is classed as murder and against god’s wishes – so we should not do it!

Joseph Fletcher – Situation ethics – it could go either way as it follows the principle love thy neighbor – do the most loving thing. Depending on the situation, if there is no other way for a cure then it is acceptable as it shows the most love. However the most love could also be to let them live as it is most loving to their partner to stay alive. 

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