Utilitarianism and Euthanasia
Pain and suffering is something that humans always try to avoid. We want to be happy with no worries, and you need to be alive to be happy, but in some cases being alive doesn’t turn out well, and instead of being happy, you are miserable. What if you could end someone’s suffering by terminating her life? Would you do it? Or would you rather let that person suffer her entire life? Euthanasia is the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy (merriam). In this paper I will use Utilitarianism to argue for euthanasia.
Utilitarianism is an effort to provide an answer to the practical question “What ought a man to do?” Its answer is that he ought to act so as to produce the best consequences possible. Utilitarian argued that actions and social policies should be judge right or wrong exclusively according to whether they cause happiness or misery, and according to this, euthanasia turns out to be morally acceptable because it decreases the amount of misery in the world (James). Some people may argue against this and say that the promotion of happiness and the avoidance of misery are not the only morally important things and that happiness is only one among many values that should be promoted, like freedom, justice, and respect for people’s rights, and I totally agree with them. But we need to keep in mind that even if the promotion of happiness is not the only important value, it still very important and the suffering is being eliminated without violating that person rights, but that’s only in voluntary euthanasia.
But what if the life of that person is taken without his concern? Would that count as a way of promoting the over-all happiness? I think it certainly does, because the people around that person will live in less misery. I’ll give you an example. A woman's spouse has developed a terminal disease that has him in chronic agony 24 hours a day. Nothing can ease his pain except pain killers that alter his personality and ability to live a normal life. Loving him and not wanting to see him struggle and suffer in pain, she decides to over medicate him with pain killers. The pain killers allow him to be without pain and simply slip into peaceful sleep forever. After this,…