Fatal Freedom
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Fatal Freedom

by Thomas Stephen Szasz
     
 

ISBN-10: 0275966461

ISBN-13: 9780275966461

Pub. Date: 09/30/1999

Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated

Fatal Freedom is an eloquent defense of every individual's right to choose a voluntary death. The author, a renowned psychiatrist, believes that we can speak about suicide calmly and rationally, as he does in this book, and that we can ultimately accept suicide as part of the human condition. By maintaining statutes that determine that voluntary death is not

Overview

Fatal Freedom is an eloquent defense of every individual's right to choose a voluntary death. The author, a renowned psychiatrist, believes that we can speak about suicide calmly and rationally, as he does in this book, and that we can ultimately accept suicide as part of the human condition. By maintaining statutes that determine that voluntary death is not legal, our society is forfeiting one of its basic freedoms and causing the psychiatric/medical establishment to treat individuals in a manner that is disturbingly inhumane according to Dr. Szasz. His important work asks and points to clear, intelligent answers to some of the most significant ethical questions of our time:

• Is suicide a voluntary act?

• Should physicians be permitted to prevent it?

• Should they be authorized to abet it?

The author's thoughtful analysis of these questions consistently holds forth patient autonomy as paramount; therefore, he argues, patients should not be prevented from exercising their free will, nor should physicians be permitted to enter the process by prescribing or providing the means for voluntary death.

Dr. Szasz predicts that we will look back at our present prohibitory policies toward suicide with the same amazed disapproval with which we regard past policies toward homosexuality, masturbation, and birth control. This comparison with other practices that started as sins, became crimes, then were regarded as mental illnesses, and are now becoming more widely accepted, opens up the discussion and understanding of suicide in a historical context. The book explores attitudes toward suicide held by the ancient Greeks and Romans, through early Christianity and the Reformation, to the advent of modern psychiatry and contemporary society as a whole. Our tendency to define disapproved behaviors as diseases has created a psychiatric establishment that exerts far too much influence over how and when we choose to die. Just as we have come to accept the individual's right to birth control, so too must we accept his right to death control before we can call our society humane or free.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780275966461
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
09/30/1999
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
194
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
1420L (what's this?)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Preface

Speaking of Suicide: Our Self-Mutilated Vocabulary

Constructing Suicide: What Counts as Killing Oneself?

Excusing Suicide: The Fateful Evasion

"Preventing" Suicide: "Saving" Lives

Prescribing Suicide: Death as Treatment

Perverting Suicide: Killing as Treatment

Rethinking Suicide: Death Control, The Final Responsibility

Appendix

Bibliography

Indexes

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