Peter Singer on euthanasia

Peter Singer on Voluntary Euthanasia

Given the presence of appropriate legal safeguards, there are no paternalistic reasons that justify denying voluntarily euthanasia. Voluntary  euthanasia is understood to be active euthanasia following the consent of the person killed. A person is a self-conscious, rational agent. Only persons have rights (and only persons can generate the principle of respect for autonomy). To have a right:

“One must have the ability to desire that to which one has a right.”

Singer’s key arguments:

  • Persons can waive their rights “if one so chooses.”
  • If we endorse the principle of respect for autonomy, we will assist others to do as they choose.

To prohibit voluntary euthanasia is to promote less happiness, for it promotes the continued suffering of a self-conscious being who desires to end that suffering but knows that it will continue (and who therefore suffers the added burden of fearing continued suffering).

He considers and rejects three problems with permitting Voluntary Euthanasia

Read Theodore Gracyk’s full notes on Peter Singer’s view on Voluntary Euthanasia.

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