Deontological Ethics: The Ethical Ethics Of Assisted Suicide

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Assisted suicide is a rather controversial issue in contemporary society. When a terminally ill patient formally requests to be euthanized by a board certified physician, an ethical dilemma arises. Can someone ethically end the life of another human being, even if the patient will die in less than six months? Unlike traditional suicide, euthanasia included multiple individuals including the patient, doctor, and witnesses, where each party involved has a set of legal responsibilities. In order to understand this quandary and eventually reach a conclusion, each party involved must have their responsibilities analyzed and the underlying guidelines of moral ethics must be investigated. Even though assisted suicide was not discussed throughout the sixteen to eighteen hundreds, ethical philosophers investigated the roots of human morals in an attempt to create an overarching rule that would help determine if “death with dignity” is morally justified.
One such philosopher is Immanuel Kant, who in his Metaphysics of Morals, argues his belief in deontological ethics. Kant believes that “good actions” are those that follow your moral duty based upon the categorical imperative. According to Kant, the categorical imperative is a golden rule that states that any moral action must be a part of the universal law. In other words, Kant believes that you should do an action only if it is recognized to be good in all circumstances. Kant would believe assisted suicide is not ethical and nobody
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