Euthanasia - A John Locke Perspective

by jpd95 on March 30, 2015 - 11:41pm

John Locke was born in 1632 and was a famous philosopher in the 17th century and his goal was to offer “an analysis of the human mind and its acquisition of knowledge” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) through various works, the most famous being The Essay.  Locke was born in southwestern England and earned his undergraduate degree at Christ Church, in Oxford.  Upon receiving his degree he held various roles in the college, oftentimes charged with the instruction of the undergraduates.  Locke developed many theories and is widely known for what he called the social contract theory.  The social contract was an agreement between government and citizens where the citizens would relinquish certain rights to the state in order to make sure everything was run the way it should.  Locke also spent much of his time in his final years devoting much of his attention to theology.  He would argue that many of the traditionally believed to be mandatory beliefs in Christianity were not necessary.  Locke passed away due to poor health in 1704.


The Americans, when writing their constitution, used Locke’s theories; a lot of the liberties that are included in the constitution come from Locke’s idea of what politics should be.  Locke also influenced a lot of how politics was in England and created a model that would be used by many countries throughout the world.


Locke argued “we are free to do those things which we both will to do and are physically capable of doing” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) and this argument could be applied today in regards to the euthanasia debate taking place here in Canada.  If Locke were alive today, he would argue that as long as people are capable of making the decision, they should have the right to decide whether they live or die.  A lot of the argument taking place today revolves around when people should be taking that decision; if it were up to Locke, he would say that people need to do what is best for them.  In Locke’s point of view, people have every right to make whatever decision they want when it comes to their own self.


Reference ----


"Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Web. 28 Mar. 2015. <>.