|Published online: June 3, 2016||$US5.00|
The epistemic awareness of being and non-being and the existential choice to live or die poses an existential question—is death, like birth, an imposition? This in turn raises the ethical question as to whether the choice to live or die is an either/or matter. It is argued that the right to exist must be understood in the context of the right to exit. Without the choice to exit, impending death would be an imposition, like birth. While we cannot choose to be born or escape death, we are aware that we can choose to die. If we can choose to die rather than live, then life cannot be considered an imposition, and if we can choose to die before natural death then death cannot be considered an imposition. When we become aware of death or aware that we can choose to die, “waiting to die” is just as much a choice as “wanting to die.” It is in the “face of death,” not the “fear of death,” that life has meaning. The choice to die is the freedom to exit from life, without which life would be an imposition or trap—like being in a room without a door or an exit. Using Sartre’s understanding of the facticity of choice as the basis for the moral autonomy principle, this paper will seek to understand why the right to die should be considered a human right and when the right to die should be considered a legal right. It is concluded that the sacredness of life is tied up with the sacredness of choice. To live is to choose to live, and we do so, not because we cannot or would not choose to die but because we do not choose to die. Choosing to live does not exclude the choice, or right, to die.
|Keywords:||Euthanasia, Imposed Life, Impending Death, First Human Right, Last Human Right, Physician-assisted Suicide, Christian Paradigm|
The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 6, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.53-61. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 3, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 528.459KB)).
Professor, Philosophy Department, Canadian University College, Lacombe, Alberta, Canada