Timely Death

Philosophical Papers 41 (3):421-434 (2012)
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Abstract

Abstract Scientific advances have made the end of life into the primary concern of medicine. But medicine also postpones the end of life, often until the time when we no longer have the mental and physical capacity to deal with it. I argue that we need to develop Nietzsche's idea of timely death, in order to find a moral basis for health care at the end of life, and that the crucial factor is the cultivation of the virtues that would enable us to live in another and more reckless way. We should look on the problem not from the first-person point of view, but from the perspective of the other, and ask ourselves what is most admirable in another person, in his or her attitude to death. The point of timely death is to make death into the completion of life, where life is understood as a moral rather than a biological idea

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Roger Scruton
Last affiliation: University of Buckingham

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