The Morality of Physician Assisted Suicide in Belgium
The assignment reflects in fact that although there is no such thing like death penalty in Belgium but there is a rule allowing physician assisted suicide. So, current assignment focusses on the issue whether it is ethical to give a person such a assisted suicide for a serious crime like rape or murder for which he has been given life imprisonment. So, two ethical theories namely Kantian and utilitarianism theories are applied. Kantian ethics, Kant believed that the world is governed by certain laws which are accepted universally (Jhonson,2004)). So, it is duty of every citizen or individual to abide by these rules. Failure of which person would be subjected to punishment. He also believed that punishment is ethically right because person deserves this for wrong, which he or she commits (Rachels,2012). Although, Kant faced many at his time. Kant also emphasised that death penalty is right for a serious crime like murder or rape. On the contrary to this utilitarian ethical theory has completely different view, that believe in estimating the degree of happiness or sadness the action is going to cause. So, it lays emphasis on post action rather than doing. It mentions three basic factors on which degree of happiness depends namely that the culprit will set an example for other in term of misery, he has to face for the crime. A sentencing system that rehabilitate the prisoners and helps them find the good in them, would create an ethically better society. Also, putting bad people in the prison would bring positivity in society.
Therefore, according to the utilitarian theory, we need to calculate the degree of happiness and unhappiness actions cause. If actions bring greater degree of happiness, giving punishment is right. A study was conducted on a rape and murder victor. Applying Kantian theory, it was analysed criminal should be confined to death penalty but considering there is no such provision in Belgium, so the most severe punishment life imprisonment was given. Now the basic question of assignment is that if we could apply self assisted suicide. So, if we apply utilitarian theory we must estimate the happiness and sadness it will cause. Considering first case if person is not allowed to suicide then unable to bear the mentor torture person develops an aggressive behaviour and is; likely to cause greater violence and turn into a problem for fellow prisoners. However, for victim they are happy that he is in misery.
Considering second case it is found, giving him assisted suicide will end up his misery, as a result, he will be happy on addition to victim who will be happy on condition that person is no longer alive. So, this case has greater degree of happiness. To conclude, every theory has its own prospective which weights its own logic prospering by giving certain assumptions. However, in mu opinion, utilitarian seems more appealing as it weights happiness and considers mind set up of every individual involved. It also reflects on both victim and criminal. However, Kantian has made certain rules which have to be abided with no exceptions. For example, murder for self defence can not be treated that wrong. Therefore, we may say that it is very difficult to take a ethical decision and that is totally based on type of theory applied.
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