Kant And Euthanasia

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This essay will focus on the contemporary issue of euthanasia. Euthanasia comes with the meaning of ‘good death’ or ‘dying well’. It is also derived from the Greek term euthanatos meaning ‘easy death’ and ‘mercy killing’ (Moonie, 2000)
There are two types of euthanasia these being active and passive. Active euthanasia arises in which someone takes active means to end a life, such as a lethal injection, to bring about someone’s death. Passive euthanasia transpires from instances in which someone simply refuses to intervene in order to prevent someone’s death for example switching off someone’s life support machine or withholding life extending medications (Melia, 2014).
Bowie (2001) suggests that the common principle is that there is such an
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It is believed that moral laws could be derived from reason, and that all immoral behaviour was, therefore, unreasonable or irrational (Gensler 1998). Kant who founded the categorical imperative which is in essence, if you want to decide whether an act is morally good, then you should be able to will that everyone else would act in the same way. In other words, the act must be universally (Bowie 2001). Kant would say to the person who wants to die: “Can you will that every other person who has your condition should die?” If the person says “yes,” then euthanasia is moral. If she says “no,” then euthanasia cannot be moral. (Gensler 1998). Kant’s categorical imperative helps to differentiate which actions are compulsory and which are prohibited, with all moral laws being universal without exception (Bowie, 2004).
Deontology has been criticised for not taking into account emotions and that the only way to decide on a moral action is a sense of duty. It seems to ignore that certain emotions have a moral aspect (Jones et al,
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Firstly the religious argument, secondly the slippery slope argument, thirdly the medical ethics argument and fourth and finally the alternative argument.
The religious argument is often the most common argument used by people against euthanasia and is in agreeance with the deontological ethical perspective in that there is sanctity in life. Various religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islamic faiths share this same idea that God is the creator therefore only God has the right to end a life. Individual whom assist a person in taking their own life therefore are acting against God’s will and committing a sin (Fraser, 2000).
In contrast Hinduism and Buddhism Some Hindus believe that euthanasia can be allowed in certain circumstances. For instance some Hindu’s believe that switching off life-support machines and not endeavouring to keep someone alive are permitted, as well as when there is no quality of life. This derives from the fact they believe that if someone is brain-dead, God has already taken their life therefore switching off a machine would not be euthanasia. Furthermore they believe that striving to keep someone alive is preventing God from taking their soul thus preventing the law of karma. Buddhists except the same stance to many Hindu’s in that there should be no harm (Watton,
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