Euthanasia: Kantianism vs Utilitarianism

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The deliberate act of ending another 's life, given his or her consent, is formally referred to as euthanasia. At present, euthanasia is one of the most controversial social-ethical issues that we face, in that it deals with a sensitive subject matter where there is much uncertainty as to what position one ought to take. Deliberately killing another person is presumed by most rational people as a fundamental evil act. However, when that person gives his or her consent to do so, this seems to give rise to an exceptional case. This can be illustrated in the most common case of euthanasia, where the person who is willing to die suffers from an illness that causes great pain, and will result in his or her demise in the not-so-distant future.…show more content…
Therefore, since euthanasia meets the moral standards set by Utilitarianism, it would support the act of euthanasia as a morally sound action.

Unlike Utilitarianism however, Kantianism states that ethics is a purely a priori discipline, thus, independent of experience, and that ethical rules can only be found through pure reason. Also contrary to Utilitarianism, Kantianism asserts that the moral worth of an action should be judged on its motive and the action itself, and not on its consequences. Based on these ideas, Kantianism propose that an action is good only if it performed out a 'good will '; which is the only thing that is good, in and of itself. To act out of a 'good will ', one must act in accordance with a categorical imperative. According to Kant there is only one categorical imperative, which is to "act only on that maxim in which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law" (Kant, 528); and can also be formulated as "act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as means, but always at the same time as an end" (Kant, 532). Essentially, the categorical imperative states that your actions must not result in a practical contradiction, which can be determined by conceptualizing all other people performing the same act. To illustrate, if I were

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