Is There a Duty to die? / Edition 1

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Leading philosophers and bioethicists revisit the disturbing question raised in 1987 by Dr. Margaret Battin: Is there is "a duty to die" in order to guarantee a just cross-generational distribution of limited health care resources? The essays collected here-including a new article by Dr. Battin-discuss the topic in-depth, providing a critical review of the literature and many new arguments. The debate includes not only those who support such a "duty" and those who say such a "duty" cannot be denied, but also those who doubt such a "duty to die" exists or question whether-if it did exist- it could be implemented without severe problems. Is There a Duty to Die? offers a balanced discussion across a wide range of opinions on the meaning of "duty to die," examining every sort of argument for and against the idea. Medical ethicists, and those concerned with end-of-life care, including the hospice community, hospitals, lawyers, legislators, jurists, public-policy makers, and religious leaders, will find it essential reading.

This is the 17th annual volume of Biomedical Ethics Reviews, a series of texts designed to review and update the literature on issues of central importance in bioethics today. The goal of this volume was to initiate an in-depth discussion of the issue by soliciting articles and papers on the topic, “Is There a Duty to Die?” This volume begins with seven essays that are sympathetic to the claim that there is a duty to die. The two main arguments of these essays are (a) that some form of duty to die exists and (b) that arguments that might be offered against the existence of such a duty cannot be sustained. The last five articles contrast these beliefs, casting doubt on the existence of such a duty to die, as well as arguing that severe problems would arise when one tried to implement this duty if it existed. The articles are well organized and each is prefaced by a short abstract describing its content for the reader’s convenience.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Twelve essays comprise the volume, the first seven broadly supportive of some version of a duty to die, the last five critical of the notion. ...In short, this is a thought-provoking volume." - Ethics
Philosophers and bioethicists revisit the question first raised by Dr. Margaret Battin in 1987 in her essay, "Age Distribution and the Just Distribution of Health Care: Is There a Duty-To-Die?" Following a new article by Dr. Battin titled "Global Life Expectancies and the Duty to Die" are six more essays sympathetic to the claim that there is a duty to die. The last five articles attempt to cast doubt on either the existence of a duty to die or the possibility of implementing one. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781617371875
  • Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York, LLC
  • Publication date: 11/19/2010
  • Series: Biomedical Ethics Reviews (closed) Series
  • Edition description: Softcover reprint of hardcover 1st ed. 2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 221
  • Product dimensions: 0.53 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Global Life Expectancies and the Duty to Die

Margaret P. Battin

Is There a Duty to Die?

Jan Narveson

Do We Have a Duty to Die?

Marilyn Bennett

The Duty to Die: A Contractarian Approach

Robert E. Ehman

Rule Utilitarianism and the Right to Die

Michael Almeida

The Nature, Scope, and Implications of a Personal Moral Duty to Die

Paul T. Menzel

Analyzing the Moral Duty to Die

J. Angelo Corlett

Duty to Die

Rosemarie Tong

How Could There Be a Duty to Die?

David Drebushenko

Do We Ever Have a Duty to Die?

Susan Leigh Anderson

Grandma, the GNP, and the Duty to Die

Judith Lee Kissell

Dying for Others: Family, Altruism, and a Duty to Die

Ryan Spellecy

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