The Taking of Life: Killing Someone in the Name of Preserving Another


Author: Eray Yaganak, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
Published: October 2013

Citation: Yaganak, E. (2013). The Taking of Life: Killing Someone in the Name of Preserving Another. IAFOR Journal of Ethics, Religion & Philosophy, 1(1).


The purpose of this paper is to examine the taking of human life in the name of preserving another. It is going to be discussed considering religious and ethical concerns. The taking of life is prohibited by various religions because they assert that only God has the authority to give and take away life. Although the taking of life can be regarded as a religious problem, it has also ethical concerns. For example, in Kantian ethics, the taking of human life is always wrong. According to Kant, all human life is to be revered and no one may ever be killed for any reason, even if one's life is threatened by another. However, there are those who advocate that killing someone is necessary to preserve innocent. This view depends on that assumption: People have a moral obligation to protect any innocent lives including their own lives. This argument is to be seen plausible at first sight but if we examine that argument in detail, we can see that it creates violence. In other words, the main criticism of this argument is that violence tends to breed more violence, and that once the killing of humans is allowed, even in defense of the innocent, no one knows where the violence will end.


Kantian ethics, human life