Kant on euthanasia and the duty to die: clearing the air

Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (8):607-610 (2015)

Authors
Michael Cholbi
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Abstract
Thanks to recent scholarship, Kant is no longer seen as the dogmatic opponent of suicide he appears at first glance. However, some interpreters have recently argued for a Kantian view of the morality of suicide with surprising, even radical, implications. More specifically, they have argued that Kantianism requires that those with dementia or other rationality-eroding conditions end their lives before their condition results in their loss of identity as moral agents, and requires subjecting the fully demented or those confronting future dementia to non-voluntary euthanasia. Properly understood, Kant’s ethics has neither of these implications. wrongly assumes that rational agents’ duty of self-preservation entails a duty of self-destruction when they become non-rational. further neglects Kant’s distinction between duties to self and duties to others and wrongly assumes that duties can be owed to rational agents only during the time of their existence.
Keywords Kant  suicide  euthanasia  duty to ide
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2013-101781
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References found in this work BETA

Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785/2002 - Oxford University Press.
Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Sasha Mudd - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (2):281-286.
Kant and the Irrationality of Suicide.Michael Cholbi - 2000 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 17 (2):159-176.

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