The duty to die and the burdensomeness of living

Bioethics 24 (8):412-420 (2010)
Abstract
This article addresses the question of whether the arguments for a duty to die given by John Hardwig, the most prominent philosophical advocate of such a duty, are sound. Hardwig believes that the duty to die is relatively widespread among those with burdensome illnesses, dependencies, or medical conditions. I argue that although there are rare circumstances in which individuals have a duty to die, the situations Hardwig describes are not among these.After reconstructing Hardwig's argument for such a duty, highlighting his central premise that ill, dependent, or aged individuals can impose unfair burdens upon others by continuing to live, I clarify precisely what Hardwig intends by his thesis that many of us have a duty to die. I then show that an important disanalogy exists between an uncontroversial example in which an individual has a duty to die and the situations in which Hardwig proposes individuals have a duty to die. More specifically, in situations where a duty to die exists, an individual's having a duty to die logically implies that those she burdens have a right to kill that individual in self-defense. I then suggest that the burdens that ill, dependent, or aged individuals impose on their families, loved ones, or caregivers do not constitute the kind of threat that warrants the latter killing the former in self-defense. Hence, the duty to die is much rarer than Hardwig supposes
Keywords duty to die  self‐defense  suicide  Hardwig  non‐maleficence  justice
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,561
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-02-17

Total downloads

90 ( #12,916 of 1,098,129 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #42,748 of 1,098,129 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.