End of Life and the Ethics Behind It

End of Life and the Ethics behind It

PHI208: Ethics and Moral Reasoning
Instructor:  Jordan Seidel
April 21, 2014

Do people have a right to end their lives whenever they choose to?  Ethically I would be inclined to say no, however there are some circumstances where I believe that it should be allowed. Assisted suicide should be allowed for the terminally ill and those that are suffering unnecessarily, even though it goes against what doctors are trained to do, it is still a person’s right and freedom of choice to decide if that is what they want.
Do people have a right to end their lives whenever they choose to?  If you apply rule utilitarianism to this question, then I believe that answer is yes. If you incorporate the rule that if they are terminally ill or suffering needlessly, that is. The theory of rule utilitarianism is the best, most ethical theory for this question to be presented with. The question then becomes, Should people have the right to end their lives if they are terminally ill or suffering unnecessarily?
“Rule utilitarianism involves an evaluation of the types of acts involved and proposes that, when followed as a general rule, the act should produce the greatest net good, or the greatest amount of happiness, for the greatest number.” (Mosser, 2014) So what that means is that if you allow someone who is terminally ill to end their life you are creating the most good or happiness for the greatest number. But there has to be the rule of them being terminally ill or suffering unnecessarily. Otherwise you would have chaos, especially if you are trying to determine who could end their life and who should not be allowed to end their life.
Rule utilitarianism is best used for this question because it weighs not only the consequences of the act but it gives a set limit to who is allowed to use the rule and who is not. There has to be certain restrictions to this rule, otherwise you could have a teenager that just had her heart broken for...