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Plato & Legalizing Euthanasia

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Brad Greene

on 20 February 2015

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Transcript of Plato & Legalizing Euthanasia

- born
c. 428 BCE / c. died 348 BCE

- lived in
Athens, Greece

- was a student of
& teacher of

- founded the
Academy of Athens
where he would teach his philosophies

Major Works
- Plato's major work consist of his

- He wrote
of them

- Writing in the form of dialogues created a general interest amongst readers who might not have usually read such subjects

Natural Law
- Plato was a
natural law theorist

- Natural law is the idea that a law is only just and legitimate if it promotes the
common good

- Natural Law theorists believe that the source of law is divine or can be discovered and formed according to what is just and will promote the common good

- Plato agreed and believed that concepts of law and justice are derived from
nature and reason
, which govern actions to move toward the higher good

Governmental Philosophy
Legalization of Euthanasia
- In modern day, we are exposed to possible ethical change in many senses, including in the matter of euthanasia.

- In Plato's time, suicide and active euthanasia were both controversial topics.

Plato's View on Justice
- To Plato, justice is a virtue which establishes rational order

- A truly just person acts justly due to their harmonious internal state rather than to adhere to social norms or for positive consequences

- Plato believed in an
ruled by philosopher kings;
having an elitist-type view
: a government ruled by elite or a privileged upper class

- Plato thought everyone shares the same qualities, but those who naturally demonstrate certain ones better than most will make the best government
- Plato speculated that when less superior people are admitted to an aristocratic class, the government will devolve into timocracy (rule by property owners)
- From there, it will devolve to oligarchy (rule by a few) to democracy (rule by majority) to tyranny (rule by one) when one person needs to take power

Plato would be
today's legalization of active euthanasia

- Plato desired to see nature take its course and to allow it to be the resolution to the world's and peoples' problems

- In saying so, this means that he was against physically performing an action that would directly cause a patient's death such as the implementation of a heart-stopping drug

- According to Plato though , the God of Healing, Asclepius, did not want to lengthen "good for nothing" lives at times and believed that a doctor could refuse to treat a patient if life expectancy was short anyways.

- This portrays that Plato was accepting of passive euthanasia

Reasoning Against Active Euthanasia
...Acceptance of Passive Euthanasia
Plato & Euthanasia

- Plato believed in natural harmony of nature and life itself.

- In his dialogues Laws he generally suggests that doctors should be stripped of their mortality if found to have administered any drugs to cause the end of a life.

- This statement reinforces that he thought
active euthanasia
should not be allowed or advocated.

- Plato was accepting of passive euthanasia, which would include modern-day actions like disconnecting life-support machines and disallowing life-sustaining drugs.

- Euthanasia in this manner is without additional human interaction or aid for a patient, allowing that their destiny may be accomplished naturally. which Plato allowed.

- This type of euthanasia has been accepted in Canada for a while now as there sometimes comes a point where there is not much left to do for a patient on the brink of death or for someone who has been stuck in a coma.

- At times like these, "pulling the plug" may be a reasonable decision.

Acknowledgment of Suffering
- Plato did acknowledge though the pain of those who would commit suicide and thought that they deserve some peace from their suffering.

- Plato ultimately thought that people who were unable to function in life normally shouldn't receive help to prolong their attempt for unlikely vitality.

- He believed suicide is generally cowardly and unjust but that it can be an ethically acceptable act if an individual has an immoral or hopeless character, has committed a disgraceful action, or has lost control of their actions due to grief or suffering.

Plato's Ultimate Views on Euthanasia
- Plato would not be in favour of legalizing the type of euthanasia being administered today which is active euthanasia.

- Allowing other people to directly assist in determining the mortal fate of someone else and allowing them to directly inflict death upon another would be against Plato's belief of allowing things to take their natural course.

- However, Plato would accept the already implemented form of "euthanasia" involving the idea of cutting off things required for a patient to survive like life support and such, as this allows a natural fate to be achieved.
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