Euthanasia In John Stuart Mill's On Liberty

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Euthanasia itself means mercy killing and it’s the intentional ending of another’s life; either directly, which is known as active euthanasia, or by stopping medical treatment, known as inactive euthanasia. It can be voluntary, when the patient asks for it, and involuntary, when the patient isn’t able to express his request and the decision is then taken by the person’s doctor and legal representative. It is one of the biggest social, moral and ethical issues in today’s society, and for years it has caused a lot of controversies over whether it can be justified or not. Many believe that life is a “sacred gift from God” so it should be Him who decides when it’s our time to go; while many others argue that for matters that don’t concern anyone…show more content…
John Stuart Mill said that “life should have maximum pleasure and the least amount of pain and pleasure should be a higher one of the mind rather than a lower one of the body”( Mill chapter III). He suggests that good consequences depend on the quality of the pleasure as well as the quantity. In his Essay, On Liberty, Mill might argue that the higher pleasures, such as the right to die with dignity and autonomy might qualify a patient for the right to die prematurely. Bentham also agrees that life should be lived with the most pleasure and the minimum pain, but this pleasure should be for the majority thus the concerns of the family involved need to be considered. As we seek pleasure and try to avoid pain, they “…govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think…” (Bentham…show more content…
Can the practice of active euthanasia be universalized for everyone all the time? The philosopher Immanuel Kant was an absolutist, which means he searched for moral laws which held true in every context and would argue that killing is wrong. It has and it will always be wrong, regardless of the circumstances. (Kant 34). The idea of duty should also be considered. If a doctor is to do his moral duty, this would be to cure or alleviate pain, and not assist on killing, as that would disregard the doctor-patient relationship and the hippocratic oath they swore to uphold. With today’s growing technology and medical innovation, people suggest that a cure may become available at any time and miracles can happen, and euthanasia would prevent those from happening. With doctors doing everything they can to keep people alive, patients are often left living under machines controlling every organ of their body, even when they’re brain dead. That only because the family members won’t let go and keep on holding on to the little shred of hope that a miracle might
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