- 医学哲学 医学倫理 (ISSN:02896427)
- vol.14, pp.81-94, 1996-10-01 (Released:2018-02-01)
Not a few people in Japan are killed in active euthanasia. However, most cases are hidden, as active euthanasia is prohibited in any situation. Consequently some people are killed by immoral ways, for example involuntarily or cruelly, though they could survive with handicaps, or though they could die calmly in voluntary active euthanasia. Voluntary active euthanasia should be permitted legally, and the Involuntary one should be prohibited strictly. Why is Voluntary active euthanasia prohibited? Because people think that no one has the right of death and believe in the theory of the slippery slope. But everyone has the right of self-determination. Does this right imply that? And cannot we put the brake on unlimited killing performed under active euthanasia? In order to answer these questions, I first investigated how the right of self-determination is justified by two theories which differ from each other:social contract theory and utilitarianism. This call give an impartial solution for them. The solution is that each person has the right to decide all one's own affairs and even commit suicide if the right is not misused and makes no one unhappy. Secondly I studied the meaning of death for the dying person, especially with regard to its positive meaning, i.e. the completion of his life. It is important what he does as the last act in his life when he suffers terribly from fatal wounds or diseases. Is it morally good that doctors prolong the severe pain of the patient as long as possible? It is bad that they rob him of self-determination and his happiness. He doesn't only have the right to die,but also should exercise the right in oder to get rid of his fatal pains. Thirdly I think through the new legal systems which permit the right to die and prevent patients from misusing it. Judging from the above, these systems must be based on the principles of self-determination and state of necessity. In the case of voluntary active euthanasia, to help one commit suicide can be legally justified. However, to kill one based on the one's serious request cannot justified, but only irresponsible for the murder.