In this post, I lay out a moral objection to physician assisted suicide. Do not be “put-off” by the academic style of presenting a series of numbered claims linked together to draw conclusions. The numbered claims highlight crucial assumptions. This highlighting facilitates focusing on what needs to be discussed in evaluation of this moral condemnation of suicide. A full examination of the assumptions is not undertaken in this post. I make only a few supporting remarks below the argument.
1. I have a moral obligation to be morally correct human beings under any conditions.
By re-expressing (1) negatively, we get:
2. Under no conditions am I permitted to choose not to be a morally correct human being.
Now let us switch to applying the general moral law to my plans and choices.
3. If I plan to take, or have someone else take, my life I plan not to be under some conditions.
4. If I plan not to be under some conditions, then I plan not to be a morally correct human being under some conditions. (Being is a necessary condition for being morally correct.)
So, linking (3) and (4) we get:
5. If I plan to take, or have some take, my life , then I plan not to be a morally correct human being under some conditions.
6. I plan to take, or have someone take, my life by making provisions for physician assisted suicide.
We get from 5) and (6)
7. I plan not to be a morally correct human being under some conditions.
Obviously, my plan expressed in (7) is in direct conflict with the moral law expressed in (2). This conflict is the moral condemnation of choosing suicide or physician assisted suicide.
Claim (1) brings out that my case starts from a moral claim. My argument is not based on only natural non-moral facts. I use first person singular, but the moral claim is for all people. If we do accept morality, it is quite plausible to accept an obligation to be moral, viz., a morally correct human being. A “Kantian” moral theory justifying (1) is developed in my book. If there is anything special in this condemnation of suicide it is expressed in (3). Choice of suicide is a choice not to be. It may seem that choice of suicide is a choice not to be in some miserable condition. However, a not to be is chosen as a means for not being in a miserable condition.
I have written a book in which defending traditional sexual morality using as a crucial premise that we have a moral obligation to be morally correct people. To get a sexual morality from that general moral principles, I show that there are specific ways men and women ought to exercise their sexuality. My book gets complicated because I argue that if we do not accept that there are specific ways men and women ought to exercise their sexuality – which I call the moral neutrality of sexuality- then there are no specific ways people ought to be. If there are now specific ways people ought to be, then there is no morality. Everything is permitted including suicide, of course. Nothing matters. That is nihilism.
My book arguing that sexual neutrality leads to nihilism is Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014.
A free copy of my book can be obtained by emailing me at email@example.com