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The Dignity of Old Age

33 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2017 Last revised: 8 Nov 2017

Jeremy Waldron

New York University School of Law

Date Written: November 2017

Abstract

It is important to complement our general account of human dignity with accounts of the specific dignity of particular phases of human life. In this paper I address the dignity of old age--the aspects of elderly life that command our respect. An account of this kind is particularly important for a balanced view of the assisted suicide debate. For even if we favor a right to die, we need also to be able to make sense of the dignity of a life lived to the end without a chosen procedure to bring it to an end. The account given in this paper addresses the approach of death and, for the purposes of dignitarians analysis, ranges around it other aspects of old age, such as wisdom, authority, debilitation, suffering, and issues about self-presentation and personal autonomy.

Keywords: autonomy, death, death with dignity, dignity, elder law, human dignity, old age, suffering

Suggested Citation

Waldron, Jeremy, The Dignity of Old Age (November 2017). NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-41. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3048041

Jeremy Waldron (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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