Utilitarians vs. Kant on Euthanasia Essay

Words: 1878
Pages: 8

Philosophy 1610
22 April 2013
Euthanasia or Just Plain Murder:
The Mercy Death/Killing Debate

Euthanasia is the practice of ending a life in order to release an individual from unbearable suffering or an incurable disease. Euthanasia the word is derived from Ancient Greek, Eu meaning “good” and Thantos meaning “Death” and when combined the term means “Good Death”. Mercy Death by definition is taking a direct action to terminate a person’s life because the person has requested to do so. This also includes physician assisted suicide, not to be confused with suicide which is the taking of one’s life by one’s own hand without assistance. Mercy Killing is also a term used and it refers to someone taking a direct action to terminate a
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Utilitarian’s are consequentialists, who are exactly what they sound like; they focus on holding consequences for any and all actions. They do this by weighing out the consequences and taking important considerations of all actions being considered. Basically utilitarians ethical theories are almost the complete opposite of Immanuel Kant’s philosophical views. Just in keeping in the specific area of debate on taking a life, utilitarians are for euthanasia in some circumstances. Do utilitarian’s sacrifice the innocent for the common wellbeing of others? When they are faced with a moral dilemma like killing a person or not prolonging an individual suffering from an incurable disease, they have to take in all considerations involving the action this includes the consequences. A utilitarian must evaluate the overall people involved and the welfare of those people or that can be affected by the action being taken for example all family members who are watching the suffering or those peering at someone who is being killed. To calculate all those involved a utilitarian must view every individual as an equal and see that it fits the category of being for the overall happiness and goodness for all. Unfortunately the utilitarian making the decision has no realistic way in gathering all necessary information needed to make such a large decision because there isn’t