Kant Euthanasia Essay
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Based on Kant’s theory, I have found suicide morally unjust. This case is about euthanasia and assisted suicide. On September 28, 1991, Dr. Boudewijn Chabot administered a sufficient amount of sleeping pills and a liquid drug mixture to a patient with the intentions of assisting the patient with death. The patient, Hilly Bosscher, was suffering from depression, and psychological pain. She was recently divorced from a 25 year abusive relationship, and her two son’s had died.
The doctor determined she suffered from unbearable pain, genuinely desired to die, and freely and competently made such a request.
On the same day Dr. Chabot administered the medicine, Hilly took the concoction, and died. In Deontology, the term itself leads us to the study of duty. Duty for Kant is the underlying role of morality. Our duty and intentions combine to form our will, and the only one thing in the world that is good is a good will. To act according to duty means we are acting according to principals, not according to the final outcome of our actions.
Principals is another important factor in this theory, our actions must be congruent with principals that can be made universal. To be universal, the maxim must apply to absolutely everyone, everywhere, and anytime. Another stipulation in Kant’s theory is that we should never treat a person solely as a means to our own ends. It is morally wrong to use someone solely to enhance our own self-interest. The idea of universalizability strongly suits this case.
To universalize the patient’s individual maxim, we would see that most if not all will find suicide morally justifiable because everyone at times may feel depressed. At this point, we look at the duty to preserve life at all costs, and find we cannot universalize the patient’s maxim. Kant was tempted with this maxim, but his will finds it immoral. He once said, “I still have strength enough to take my life, but I hold this to be immoral. Whoever deprives himself of life is a beast? ” The extreme idea of suicide also looks at self-love.
She wants to feel better, so she thinks death will accomplish this. The problem here is with death, you don’t feel anything anymore. Another angle on this case looks at the patient using the doctor as a means to an end. Her intentions in going to the doctor were solely as a means to self enhancement. She was using him to help herself die, and this is morally unjust. One weakness I find in this theory is that of the doctor’s duty. A doctor has a duty to minimize suffering. To minimize the patients suffering, he is morally just in assisting her to accomplish death.