2007 Abstracts Stage 3

Can putting an end to your own life ever be morally acceptable?

Anna Willis, 2007, Stage 3

Topic: In this project I am going to be looking at what triggers people to get to the stage where they feel the only way out is to put an end to their life. Aims: The aim of this project is to get a balanced view of how and why people reach the point where they believe that the only way forward is to bring about their own death. I shall attempt to do this by looking a very diverse set of sources in order to show that there can never be a reason that can be applied to all cases. I have chosen to look at the work of Peter Singer, Jonathon Glover and the Christian perspective on the value of life in order to discuss whether it can ever be morally acceptable to bring about your own death. I am also going to look at a range of plays mostly Greek tragedy in order to see how this topic is dealt with. Questions I shall address: Can putting an end to your own life ever be morally acceptable? Are there situations where this could be regarded as acceptable and situations where it certainly could not? Do we have an obligation to preserve life? How do people continue with their life after a failed suicide attempt? Will you always be affected by the decision you made to try and take your life? Key Sources: Peter Singer ‘Practical Ethics’, David. H.Rosen ‘A follow up study of persons who survived jumping from the Golden Gate and San Francisco- Oakland Bay Bridges’, Sophocles ‘Oedipus’ ‘Antigone’, Euripides ‘Electra’, Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘Football Season is over’ (Suicide Note), Henrik Ibsen ‘Hedda Gabler’

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