The Journal of Ethics

, Volume 9, Issue 3–4, pp 517–531 | Cite as

Choosing when to Die

  • Norvin Richards


What would make it the right time for you to die, or the wrong one? In particular, could it be the right time for you to die even if your loved ones want to make the sacrifices needed to prolong your life, because that would cost them too dearly? The worry is that it would be selfish to permit these sacrifies, and wrong for that reason. I think it matters that the sacrifies would occur within a relationship of mutual devotion, and I try to say how it matters. In particular, I argue against some fairly simple views of what constitutes impermissible selfishness in this context, and in favor of approaching such decisions in a different way.

Key words

duty to die John Hardwig realtionships of mutual devotion selfishness self-sacrifice 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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