The Morality Of Euthanasia And The Application Of Utilitarianism

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The Morality of Euthanasia and the Application of Utilitarianism.


When a patient is in immense amounts of pain from a terminal illness, one of the options to relieve a person from the pain is euthanasia. Euthanasia is seen as a controversial and moral issue because of the different viewpoints. Euthanasia is seen by some as killing, while others see it as removing a person from immense amounts of pain. This paper will first discuss the principles of utilitarianism through Bentham and Mill. Next, Rachels argument will be analyzed for his viewpoint on euthanasia. Utilitarianism- Jeremy Bentham (pg.43-48) and John Stuart Mill (pg.50-54)

Utilitarianism can be defined overall as summing all pleasures and pains in order to create happiness for the most people. Pleasure is the only good, and pain is bad. Bentham sees pleasure and pain as ‘“two sovereign masters”. Pleasure and pain is what governs us, and is achieved through majority rule. Bentham says “By the principle of utility is meant that principle who approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever.”(pg.44) Utilitarianism focuses on calculating the overall effect of an action, which a goal to create the most happiness for the most amount of people. They think of all the future consequences and long term benefits. Everyone’s opinion is taken into account when making a decision. This is seen in many government systems today through democracy and voting.
Bentham says that “the community is a fictitious
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