Collecting the Primary Texts

Margaret Pabst Battin

in Ending Life

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780195140279
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850280 | DOI:
Collecting the Primary Texts

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Imagine a collection of texts on the ethics of suicide — all the primary texts that are of philosophical interest, from all of Western and non-Western culture, from all the major religious traditions, including reports from oral cultures where original texts are not available. A spectrum of views about the ethics of suicide — from the view that suicide is profoundly morally wrong to the view that it is a matter of basic human right, and from the view that it is primarily a private matter to the view that it is largely a social one — lies at the root of contemporary practical controversies over suicide. These practical controversies include at least three specific matters of high current saliency: physician-assisted suicide in terminal illness, hunger strikes and suicides of social protest, and suicide bombings and related forms of self-destruction employed as military, guerilla, or terrorist tactics in ongoing political friction. This chapter looks at various texts that are deemed primary sources on the ethics of suicide.

Keywords: ethics; primary sources; physician-assisted suicide; oral cultures; terminal illness; hunger strikes; suicide bombings

Chapter.  5992 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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