Slides Group 7

A Case Study In
The Light of Ethical Theories
Andreas Sembrant
Mahdad Davari
Muneeb Khan
Nikos Nikoleris
Case Study - Euthanasia
• Tracy Latimer, a 12 year old girl suffering from
cerebral palsy (1993)
• She is handicapped and in constant pain
• No prospect for any improvement
• Her father ended her life as an act of mercy
• Eventually, he was found guilty and prisoned
for 25 years
Is His Act Morally Correct?
Ethical Egoism (Andreas)
Utilitarianism (Mahdad)
Kantism (Muneeb)
Social Contract Theory (Nikos)
Ethical Egoism
Right action is the action that is most advantageous to oneself in the long run
• Frees up resources
(Care of a handicapped
child takes time,
resources and
• Reduces grief in the
• It will be better off for
the family (long run)
End her life
• He will miss her and
might feel guilty if
ending her life
• Potential imprisonment
(became reality)
Keep alive
Right action is the action that maximizes the overall happiness for all
• Free up resources for
other people (+)
• Lesser misery for the
family (+)
• Minimize her suffering
• She dies (-)
• Short term grief (-)
• Potential Imprisonment
End her life
• Keep resources
occupied (-)
• Continued suffering for
relatives (-)
• Constant suffering for
her (-)
• She lives (+)
Keep alive
Right action is the action that people can willingly follow in all situations
• Dilemma caused by the intention
• Is she being killed to free up resources and
make family happier?
– Yes: Humanity is being used as the mean to
achieve an end (morally incorrect)
• Is she being killed to end her suffering?
– Yes: Humanity is the end and death is the means
(morally correct)
Social Contract Theory
The right action is the action that follows rules that a rational people have agreed to
• Euthanasia may be accepted or not by the
Social Contract
• Euthanasia is not accepted in Canada
• Killing the girl breaks the Social Contract, and
• The father has to face natural consequences
as per the Social Contract
Ethical Egoism – Kill her!
Utilitarianism – don’t know!
Kantism – Kill her!
Social Contract Theory – don’t kill her!

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