value. will not give a lethal drug

value. Furthermore, the Hippocratic Oath, sworn upon by all physicians, which states, “I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan”, is a clear indicator of the morality of the practice, especially by physicians. With the nature of the arguments on both sides, and the looming issue of morality, it is clear why there has been no consensus. Naturally, this matter is often discussed in terms of Mill’s utilitarian or Kant’s deontological view, two approaches which aim to clarify the ethical qualms related to the issue.Mill’s utilitarianism is notable for the Greatest Happiness Principle, stating that “The end would justify the means if the end were greatest happiness for the greatest number.” So, an action is moral, according to Mill, if it promotes utility for a large number of people, and is also the best choice in increasing utility and reducing pain. Mill’s proposed system of judging morally good actions versus morally bad is to name superior the action which is preferable by the majority. Contrary to deontologism, the intention behind an action has no bearing to whether it is wrong or right, as this is determined solely by the net outcome of the action. Therefore, there can be two arguments for a utilitarian on physician-assisted suicide. First, it is morally wrong because the pain of the patient’s family and friends exceed the pain of the patient. In accordance to Mill’s principle, the people around the patients would have qualitatively suffered more than the patient. Second, it is morally permissible in the case where the ending of a patient’s pain is of greater pleasure to the patient than the pleasure the family and friends would gain had the patient not been able to end his or her life. Qualitatively, because of the immense suffering a terminally ill patient goes through, it outweighs and is incomparable to any suffering felt by surrounding people. Considering the subjective nature of the utilitarian argument, and the intimate situation between the patient and his or her family and friends, it is difficult to apply the Greatest Happiness Principle in a concrete manner. A flaw in the utilitarian perspective, especially in matters that concern life and death, is that one must be able to accurately predict the future outcome of the action in order to weigh its net outcomes when the action has never even occurred. For example, if a patient were to remain alive through their suffering, would their family and friends endure more pain than they would if the patient decided to end their life, and be free of suffering? Another likely objection to the utilitarian view on physician-assisted suicide is the slippery slope problem. If the goal of utilitarianism is to maximize happiness, and create the absence of pain, to what extent can the guidelines of physician-assisted suicide be broadened to provide the maximum happiness? When indiscriminately following the utilitarian view on this practice, there is high potential for the guidelines to be broadened, possibly including those with mental issues, such as depression, or those with severe mental disabilities. This could result in a disastrous outcome.Kant’s perspective on morality differs greatly from the utilitarian view. He believed that as rational beings, humans should be moral, and to have moral worth, one must act upon the maxim of one’s duty. A maxim is the agent’s intention behind an action performed by the agent. For example, a person’s maxim could be to donate a certain percentage of his or her income every year, or it could be to borrow money with no intention of paying it back. These ideas are what Kant used to form the “supreme principle of morality.” The first formulation of this principle states, “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.” The universal law formulation says that we should only act in a way where we want the maxim of our action to become a universal law, and following this law would be acting upon our moral duty. This is a categorical imperative because it is an unconditional law, or requirement, that is to be obeyed in all situations, and is justified as an end in itself. In contrast, a hypothetical imperative is one that has a goal as an end. For instance, if you are hungry, eat something, but if you are not hungry, the command to eat something does not apply to you. If you give up the goal, or find no reason for it, then you are not bound to the command. Kant argues that one cannot act morally in this way, and hypothetical imperatives cannot act as a moral basis because the commands are too dependent on subjective matters. Therefore, his deontological perspective on morality is based solely on categorical imperatives. In the case of physician-assisted suicide, Kant would potentially argue that it is morally wrong because the maxim is not universal, thus no fulfilling the requirement for an action to be morally justified. There are several possible maxims which could lead to a person’s desire to end his or her life, such as “I want to die in dignity, therefore I should end my life,” or, “I want to escape pain, therefore I should end my life.” Applying these maxims as a universal law is not possible, as doing so would mean that several people would have to end their life based on the principle of suffering, or living in dignity. Kant’s view on physician-assisted suicide would most likely stem from his perspective on suicide, which he believes is morally wrong. He states that “He who contemplates suicide should ask himself whether his action can be consistent with the idea of humanity as an end in itself. If he destroys himself in order to escape from painful

Go Top
x

Hi!
I'm Rita!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out