- Bentham's Hedonic Calculus can be used to weigh up the pleasure and pain caused by two courses of action
- - in this case, helping someone to die, or not doing so.
Bentham would consider the Intensity
of the pain and its Duration
He would have to weigh that against the number of people affected (Extent
), and consider whether keeping someone alive woud lead to other pleasures (Richness
He would also need to add up the amount of other 'pains' the patient would face e.g. loss of dignity (Purity
and consider the chances that there' might be a cure or treatment in the future (Certainty
The pain is immediate, while possible future benefits are Remote
- Mll did make a distinction between higher and lower pleasures, which can be shown effectively here:
- Thomas Hyde was 27 when Dr. Kevorkian helped him to die. He had ALS - the same condition that Stephen Hawking has. For Hyde, an athletic man, the thought of never using his body again was too much.
Mill would argue that if his maind were still working, Hyde should have been able to enjoy a happy life.
Someone with Alzheimers would be a different story, as Mill would see little benefit in continuing with life if your mind wasn't working properly.