Voluntary Euthanasia: A Quantum Theory of Moral Action (part 3)

This is part 3 of a multi-part series.

I contemplate writing a book on this subject intended for the educated reader, tentatively titled “My Death, My Choice: A Secular View of Voluntary Euthanasia” in which this quantum theory will play an integral role.  The book assumes that readers hold a secular humanist worldview.  That is, secular in the sense that no deities, afterlives, or other supernatural notions are involved, and humanistic in the sense that the wellbeing of human and non-human sentient creatures is the only valid measure of moral virtue. Readers of this article are requested to read my short, free ebook, The Reason Revolution: Atheism, Secular Humanism, and the Collapse ..., an atheistic rationale for secular humanism. 

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Equations

Two mathematical equations are provided that produce numerical answers to the two relevant questions: (1) Would my death be to my personal benefit, and (2) Would the burden or trauma of my death on my loved ones outweigh its benefit to me?

Question #1: Is the remainder of my life worth living?

Q = (L/N) - 1

where:

                  Q = Pleasure/Pain Quotient (PPQ) of an individual person or other sentient being

                  L = sum of all positively charged quanta (units of Pleasure)

                  N = sum of all negatively charged quanta (units of Pain)

 

Narrative description:  PPQ is the quotient of the sum of all Pleasure divided by the sum of all Pain, less 1.  Subtracting 1 places the midpoint of the range at zero.

Note that a Q value above zero (Ø) suggests that the Self’s life, being a net-positive experience, is currently worth living.  Conversely, a Q value below zero suggests that one’s life is a net-negative experience, and that ending it would be an improvement. Consequently, euthanasia would benefit Self and may be a moral act, pending consideration of its impact on others, as calculated below.

Question #2: Would intentionally ending my life be a moral act?

M = ØwQs + ΣwQo

where:

M = the measured morality of a considered act, where a positive M signifies a moral act and a negative M signifies an immoral act

Qs = PPQ of the Self, presumed to be a negative number since euthanasia is being considered, indicating that it is Self’s conclusion that death would raise his/her PPQ from a negative value to null.  Hence, in this formula, subtracting a negative number produces a positive result.

ΣQo = Sum of the PPQs of all other (non-Self) individuals consequent to Self’s death.  Others’ PPQ’s are assumed to be primarily negative, although, for example, the PPQ of a spouse who would be relieved of caregiver duties may contain positively charged quanta.

w = the weight associated with the Self and with each other sentient being whose PPQ would be affected by Self’s death.  Relative weights reflect Self’s estimate of the effect of his/her death on each other person affected.  For example, it is likely that one’s spouse, children, and dearest friend would be assigned greater weights than would one’s neighbor or dog.

Narrative description: The quantitative morality of a considered act is equal to the sum of the PPQ of the Self multiplied by an assigned weight, less the PPQs of all others who would be affected, each multiplied by a weight reflecting the comparative impact of Self’s death on each.

 

(Stay tuned for Part 4 of this series.)

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