I'm writing about the medical ethical dilemma of whether or not to give life-sustaining therapy if it is judged to be futile by the doctor anyhow.

I'm to write a logically valid argument FOR or AGAINST this premise (should a doctor give life-sustaining therapy if a patient wishes, but if the doctor deems it futile) using Kantian ethics.

Is this a valid argument for the premise?

If a patient wishes to continue treatment, regardless of the doctor's opinion, it is ethically correct, according to the second formulation of Kantian ethics, to respect this wish, as the doctor would only be viewing the patient as means, instead of an end, if he denied him the treatment.

  • Is there any chance you could make the headline more specific?
    – Joseph Weissman
    Jan 3 '16 at 18:53
  • Please do feel free to improve further. Also it might be advisable here to try to ground this in some particular text or passage of Kant that you're studying.
    – Joseph Weissman
    Jan 3 '16 at 19:05
  • I've included the second formulation of Kantian ethics as a grounding point.
    – Paze
    Jan 3 '16 at 19:09
  • I'm sorry, I don't see it? --It would help a lot here to work explicitly from the text -- explaining why you think a particular passage or line of reasoning supports your position
    – Joseph Weissman
    Jan 3 '16 at 19:11
  • "it is ethically correct, according to the second formulation of Kantian ethics" In my argument. I just need to know whether or not my argument is valid. I'm not supposed to argue for my argument, I'm supposed to bring a valid argument that is grounded in Kantian ethics about my dilemma. Therefore the short question.
    – Paze
    Jan 3 '16 at 19:12


There is no evidence the doctor is using the patient as a means to anything by doing nothing to him.

In fact, if he is providing care that he does not consider to ultimately help the patient in a real way, and he does not at least consider whether this is ultimately harmful, the doctor would be using the patient as a mere means.


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