The compatibility between Shiite and Kantian approach to passive voluntary euthanasia


Euthanasia is one of the controversial topics in current medical ethics. Among the six well-known types of euthanasia, passive voluntary euthanasia (PVE) seems to be more plausible in comparison with other types, from the moral point of view.
According to the Kantian framework, ethical features come from 'reason'. Maxims are formulated as categorical imperative which has three different versions. Moreover, the second version of categorical imperative which is dubbed 'principle of ends' is associated with human dignity. It follows from this that human dignity has an indisputable role in the Kantian story. 
On the other hand, there are two main theological schools in Islamic tradition which are called: Ash'arite and Mu'tazilite. Moreover, there are two main Islamic branches: Shiite and Sunni. From the theological point of view, Shiite's theoretical framework is similar to the Mu'tazilite one.
According to Shiite and Mu'tazilite perspectives, moral goodness and badness can be discovered by reason, on its own. Accordingly, bioethical judgments can be made based on the very concept of human dignity rather than merely resorting to the Holy Scripture or religious jurisprudential deliberations. 
As far as PVE is concerned, the majority of Shiite scholars do not recognize a person's right to die voluntarily. Similarly, on the basis of Kantian ethical themes, PVE is immoral, categorically speaking.  According to Shiite framework, however, PVE could be moral in some ethical contexts. In other words, in such contexts, the way in which Shiite scholars deal with PVE is more similar to Rossian ethics rather than the Kantian one.

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IssueVol 2 (2009) QRcode
Kantian ethics, Shiite ethics, Euthanasia.

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Dabbagh S, Aramesh K. The compatibility between Shiite and Kantian approach to passive voluntary euthanasia. J Med Ethics Hist Med. 2009;2.