Suicide, euthanasia and the duty to die: A Kantian approach to euthanasia

  • Marina Budić PhD Candidate, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade;
Keywords: Kant, euthanasia, rationality, honor, dignity, autonomy, dementia


The paper addresses the issues of euthanasia and thoroughly analyses Kantian response to the practice in question. In reference to Kant’s views on many related issues, such as murder, suicide, autonomy, rationality, honor and the value of human life, the main goal of this paper is to offer an explanation for one probable Kantian view on euthanasia in general, as well as an explanation for a specific form of euthanasia with regard to those patients suffering from dementia. The author’s arguments, according to which Kant could even argue that those persons who have begun suffering from dementia have a duty to die, have all been given special importance in this paper. The question is could and should this specific moral ever be allowed to become universal when considering the patients’ willingness to commit suicide once they start suffering from dementia or perhaps once they start experiencing a loss of rationality? Should suicide even become a patient’s duty? Furthermore, if a patient shows absolutely no intention or willingness of taking her/his own life, ‘should’ the doctor perform a non-voluntary euthanasia over the patient? This paper analyses the author’s arguments which are actually in favor of aforementioned questions, and aims to examine the plausibility of the act as well as to criticize it. The issue of euthanasia is very important, because the key question is what in fact constitutes the fundamental value of human life, which lies at the heart of this problem.


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