Dying with Dignity

Beryck Beyleveld and Roger Brownsword

in Human Dignity in Bioethics and Biolaw

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9780198268260
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683473 | DOI:

Series: Human Dignity in Bioethics and Biolaw

Dying with Dignity

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This chapter discusses three euthanasia cases in which ‘death with dignity’ is an issue. First, there are cases involving persons who are seemingly competent to consent or refuse. Their dignity is violated if we fail to recognize this capacity, for example, by failing to respect their life-terminating choices. Second, there are cases involving persons who no longer seem to have decision-making capacity and seem to have lost it irretrievably. Third, is a particular case arising at the beginning rather than the end of life. This is the much debated case of the Siamese twins Jodie and Mary. The question is whether separating the twins so that Jodie (the stronger of the twins) can survive (but knowing Mary will then die) is compatible with dignity. The chapter ends by suggesting that dignity as a virtue speaks to both our personal and our civic responsibilities, to what it means to die with dignity but also to what it means to live with dignity.

Keywords: euthanasia; dignity; Siamese twins; dignity

Chapter.  18133 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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