Physician-Assisted Suicide and the Significance of the Kantian View

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Physician-Assisted Suicide: Significance of the Kantian View Thanks to modern developments in medical technology, people in advanced countries today live longer and stay healthy until they are relatively older. The technology, however, also allows some people to hasten their death and make it relatively pain-free. As a result, many patients suffering from unbearable pain of certain incurable illnesses from time to time ask their physicians to help them commit suicide. Any physician who is asked to do this is under an ethical dilemma. On the one hand, the physician is asked to help relieve one from pain and suffering. On the other hand, by helping a patient commit suicide the physician is assisting someone to commit murder even if it is the case of self-murder. This ethical case known as Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS) is a controversial topic in the United States and elsewhere. Since it is an ethical issue, one way of resolving the dilemma is to evaluate the morality of PAS from the perspective of classical and other ethical theories. Among these are utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, relativism, emotivism, and ethical egoism. With the exception of deontology, any of these theories can be used to justify PAS easily. Deontology is the only view that places strong moral limitations on the application of PAS. Deontology's most prominent proponent Immanuel Kant strongly opposed suicide. However, the core principles of deontology may justify physician-assisted suicide

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