philosophy paper 3 - Assisted Suicide? Etienne Lescure...

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Assisted Suicide? Etienne Lescure Philosophy 1305 Professor Nelson
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According to Butler people do not act strictly out of self interest, a desire for happiness. Butler believes that the human race is lucky because happiness is one of our fundamental desires; however it is hard to find happiness. If one only had the particular affection of happiness it would not make sense to do one thing or another, though happiness can be achieved through one’s other particular affections. Other particular affections are satisfying because one can do something about them, one finds these enjoyable in themselves, and one cares about them for their own sake. They may be different from happiness but each one is a good means to happiness. It is impossible to have only the desire for happiness and act on it successfully, one needs at least one other desire in order to achieve happiness. Therefore since one desires other particular affections they have a way of achieving happiness, yet there is no pleasure at all if there was no prior affection for doing a given task. Pleasure is something that is derived from doing something else, and since one’s life involves all these particular affections one has plenty of motives of action that do not involve self love, but all lead to happiness. The motives of kindness, benevolence, and generosity are all beneficial because they are a lot more congenial to ones self happiness. Therefore take the case of prescribing lethal dosages of drugs to terminally ill patients that request them, and one can see that the patient’s motivation for happiness is the desire to rid themselves of pain. While the doctor would act out of other particular affections such as benevolence since it would be more beneficial to the patient to go ahead and end their life since that is what they desire rather than allowing them to live a little longer in painful and debilitating conditions. Since everyone cares about his/her own wellbeing one will try to do things that can
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This note was uploaded on 03/18/2008 for the course PHIL 1304 taught by Professor J during the Spring '07 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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philosophy paper 3 - Assisted Suicide? Etienne Lescure...

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