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Philosophy: Euthanasia And The Right

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Question:

Discuss about the Philosophy for Euthanasia and the Right.

 

Answer:

Introduction

It is to be mentioned that Euthanasia is the act of ending a person’s life voluntarily to relieve the same from suffering (Chambaere et al., 2015). The Euthanasia laws of different countries vary. It is to be mentioned that Euthanasia and assisted suicides are completely different and are intended to be treated differently. A doctor giving a terminally ill patient an overdose of a drug to relive the patient of his sufferings and end his life can constitute euthanasia (Letwin et al., 2016). On the other hand if a terminally ill patient is given access to sedatives by an acquaintance of the patient knowing the fact that the patient can overdose on the drug to relieve himself from the suffering of his illness will constitute assisted suicide.

Euthanasia and the Right to Die

It can be noted that the main stakeholders of the right to die and Euthanasia are the ones who suffer from terminal illness and those who suffer from mental trauma and depression. The question of whether Euthanasia or the right of persons to voluntarily end their lives should be legal and valid is subject to a lot of interpretation and is debatable. The legal provisions of assisted suicide and Euthanasia are different (Emanuel, 2016). It is to be mentioned that Assisted Suicide is illegal and is punishable by up to fourteen years of imprisonment according to the Suicide Act(1961). However it is to be mentioned that act of ending a person’s life by himself will not be considered to be a criminal act. It is to be mentioned that Euthanasia can be of two types; voluntary euthanasia- where the consent of the individual willing to end his life is obtained and involuntary Euthanasia – where the consent of the individual willing to end his life is not obtained. It is to be stated while voluntary Euthanasia is legal in some countries, involuntary Euthanasia is considered illegal in all countries.

The Right to die is concept which is based on the belief that individuals should have the right to end their lives if they deem it necessary under voluntary Euthanasia (Somerville, 2014). It is to be mentioned that the right of the individuals to end their lives is generally possessed by the people who are suffering from terminal illness and who longer wish to endure the pain and suffering. However it is to be mentioned that whether individuals should be empowered with the right to die is subject to a lot of debate. It is to be mentioned that the main supporters of this theory state that an individual’s body and life are his own and therefore the right to end his life is also his decision. However, the legislation of different countries has different provisions regarding the right to die and Euthanasia to prevent irrational suicides.

 

Utilitarianism Theory: Right to die

It is to be noted that Utilitarianism is the ethical theory which states that the actions of individuals should be based on the utility (Albee, 2014). Thus to interpret this theory, it can be stated that individuals should focus on which what derives maximum utility for them instead of what is morally correct and upright. It is to be mentioned that Utilitarianism takes into account the Utility of the actions of individuals which is a sum of all the pleasures, sentiment and well-being of the individuals (Alon & Lehrer, 2017). The supporters of this theory hold that happiness is the only good and individuals should target the achievement of happiness as consequence of their actions.

According to this theory, the right to die should be, granted to terminally ill patients who no longer wish to endure the pain and suffering. The Utilitarianism theory in this context can be applied to achieve the ultimate happiness of the individuals, which is relief from the unbearable pain and suffering (Barrow, 2015). It is to be mentioned those who choose to end their lives to end the pain and suffering consider death to be the ultimate and final source of their well being. However this theory will not apply to the case of mentally unstable people or people suffering from mental illness as they cannot assess the consequences of their decisions. It can be noted that this theory justifies the maximization of utility which in this case is death for the terminally ill patients. However the principle of this theory can be misinterpreted by people who are suicidal or are suffering from depression or mental trauma and they can opt for the easy way of reliving depression by committing suicide without thinking about the consequences of their actions

Kantian Ethics Theory:Right to die 

According to this deontological theory it can be stated the action of an individual can only be good if the same is governed by a moral duty (Cline, 2014). The principle of this theory states that for an action to be considered permissible and morally correct, it must be applicable to all the people without any exceptions.

It is to be noted that according to this theory, it is not morally correct to end a life voluntarily by a person. Therefore it can be said that Euthanasia, assisted suicide and suicide are not permissible by the aforementioned theory. It is to be mentioned that the main principle of Kant’s theory is the applicable to all individuals. Therefore is if killing is considered to be evil, the act of ending a life is also considered to evil even if the same is done voluntarily. If the right of individuals to end their lives is to be analyzed in the light of the aforementioned theory it is to be stated that the intention of the act is more important than the act itself. Some people believe that since the primary principle of this theory is universal applicability, if a person is granted the right to end his voluntarily due to terminal illness, the society might decide that the fate of the unfortunate and incompetent members of the society should be the same as they do not contribute to the society. This theory suffers from certain drawbacks as well. It imposes a moral duty on the terminally people of carrying on their live even if they are in great physical pain and distress. The right to ultimate relief from pain and suffering is denied to them.  

Conclusion

Thus to conclude, it can be said that the Right to die and Euthanasia are relative concepts and are subject to a lot of debate. The laws of Euthanasia and right to die are different n different countries of the world. The main stakeholders of right to die are the patients who are suffering from terminal illness who wish to end their lives to relieve themselves from the pain and people who wish to end their lives due to suffering from depression. It can be said that according to the Utilitarianism theory, the right to die should be granted to terminally ill patients who no longer wish to endure the pain and suffering but the same should not be provided to mentally unstable people and people who are suffering mental illness. However according to the Kant’s theory it is not morally correct to end a life voluntarily by a person. It can be said that Euthanasia, assisted suicide and suicide are not permissible by the aforementioned theory.

 

Reference List: 

Albee, E. (2014). A history of English utilitarianism (Vol. 1). Routledge.

Alon, S., & Lehrer, E. (2017). Subjective Utilitarianism: Decisions in a social context.

Barrow, R. (2015). Utilitarianism: A contemporary statement. Routledge.

Chambaere, K., Vander Stichele, R., Mortier, F., Cohen, J., & Deliens, L. (2015). Recent trends in euthanasia and other end-of-life practices in Belgium. New England Journal of Medicine, 372(12), 1179-1181.

Cline, A. (2014). Deontology and Ethics: What is Deontology. Deontological Ethics.

Emanuel, E. J., Onwuteaka-Philipsen, B. D., Urwin, J. W., & Cohen, J. (2016). Attitudes and practices of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Jama, 316(1), 79-90.

Letwin, C., Wo, D., Folger, R., Rice, D., Taylor, R., Richard, B., & Taylor, S. (2016). The “right” and the “good” in ethical leadership: Implications for supervisors’ performance and promotability evaluations. Journal of Business Ethics, 137(4), 743-755.

Somerville, M. (2014). Death talk: the case against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. McGill-Queen's Press-MQUP.

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