A Right to Die? A Comparative Legal Philosophical Enquiry
20 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2015
Date Written: August 27, 2015
Man is a living being. But in the midst of life death is a reality. The antithesis of life is death. Hence many a thinker over the ages have sought to depict it in several forms. It is a ‘necessary end that will come when it will come’; yet the desire to live is the most defining impulse of humankind. It would appear that the desired living is also a living in dignity and happiness. Little wonder then that in every land and clime, life is intrinsically valuable and the essence of society is to sustain it. Sometimes however, we encounter situations where human beings contrary to the ordinary flow of existential perceptions desire on their own to die. They crave death because to them life has lost its meaningfulness. They seek to determine definitively the end of life. Some of them now assert that the right to take that decision is an inherent aspect of the human right to life. How true is this assertion? In this work it is sought to briefly examine the issue of death as a right and how it has been seen around different jurisdictions of the world using specific apex court decisions to do so. The work will also seek to show the different jurisprudence dispositions adopted by judges in disposing the cases that touch on this issue. The arguments for and against elicited will be highlighted using the different schools of legal philosophy as the mirror. It will be seen that the judges are rather most circumspect and appear generally unsure footed hence they prefer to keep the status quo. It will comparatively draw inspiration from other philosophical writings relevant to the work in other to give it the required comparative breadth.
Keywords: Death, Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, Jurisprudence, Legal Philosophy, Beneficence, autonomy, ontology
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