Summary Of Gerald's Utilitarianism

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The principle of utility states that social welfare is the pre-eminent social value. Utilitarianism describes what is “good” being synonymous with what is overall best for the community and maximizes what is ethically right. Utilitarianism also focuses on the consequences of an action. According to Bentham’s Utilitarianism, by nature, maximizing pleasure and minimalizing pain is the metric individuals use when determining the morality of an action. When assessing the scenario described, Gerald’s mother employing her paternalistic measures against Gerald’s wishes to forgo additional treatment is in fact justified from the utilitarian stand point. Gerald’s decision to die at home decreases his own pain, but is consequently increasing the pain …show more content…
The idea of Kantianism states that an individual does what they want they are acting on a physiological and neurochemical urge. A person acts on the urge although they did not choose to have the urge. In Gerald’s situation, this formulation is used by considering Gerald’s desire to die were determined by his current state due to the prior events of the car accident. When applying Kantianism and the universal law of formulation, Gerald would be supported when deciding to terminate treatment and persuaded to discontinue the recovery process and physical therapy. Killing is always wrong is any context, scenario, or situation. In this case, active euthanasia would be considered killing, but passive euthanasia is considered upholding an individual’s right to self-government. Kant believes that suicide is impermissible because the act of killing is always wrong; however, we are free as individuals to do what we should to act autonomously. Forgoing treatment is seen as initiating the process of dying which would not be considered the rule. Although Gerald’s position to refuse treatment may be the best option from his perspective, it is not the universal law in most cases. In most cases living through a traumatic experience such as this would merit inspiration to fight for another chance to live and Gerald should act in accordance. But is it right for his mother to …show more content…
Based this premise, individuals have total ownership over their own body and as a result, they have the right to do with their bodies as they see fit which includes the right to passive or active euthanasia. There is however, a condition attached to the libertarian view which states that individual has the right to do what they want as long as their actions do not interfere with others doing what they wish. Gerald’s desire to discontinue would then be a direct interference with his mother’s desire to keep her son alive. The fact that Gerald’s mother is more supportive to active euthanasia rather than passive raises the same questions from an ethical stand point as James Rachels’ objections. Passive as well as active euthanasia has the same end result, both which are supported by libertarianism. So then why is active euthanasia considered “killing” while passive euthanasia is not? Active euthanasia is chosen to avoid suffering and terminating treatment may increase the time and extent of pain in the process of dying. In this case, “killing” and “allowing to die” there is not a significant moral significance between the two because both will end with the same result. Gerald’s mother she believes it will cause her son less pain overall pain and suffering to die by active euthanasia rather than passive. This is why she is more supportive when he elects for active euthanasia to be administered.

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