A Natural Right to Die: Twenty-three Centuries of Debate

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002 - Law - 222 pages
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While other books deal with the contemporary issue of the right to die, no attempt has been made to demonstrate substantially the historic nature of this question beyond the borders of the United States. Whiting demonstrates that the right to die controversy stretches back more than two thousand years, and he explains how current attitudes and practices in the U.S. have been influenced by the legal and cultural development of the ancient western world. This perspective allows the reader to understand not only the origins of the controversy, but also the different perspectives that each age has contributed to the ongoing debate.

Whiting discusses the development of legal rights within both western culture and the United States, then applies these developments to the question of the right to die. In an environment of public debate that features such emotional events as the exploits of Jack Kevorkian, the publication of how to suicide manuals, and the counterattacks of Right to Life groups, the United States is left with very few options.

 

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Contents

Contemporary Attitudes about Death
11
A Brief Modern History and Definition of Terms
15
Attitudes around the World
37
Anatomy of a Right
49
Opposition to the Right to Die
57
Roman Natural Law Theory
69
Natural Law Theory through the Middle Ages
81
The Development of Natural Rights Theory
89
Natural Law and the Constitution Then and Now
125
The American Interpretation of Natural Law as It Pertains to the Right to Die
141
Applications
153
One Mans Decision to Die
171
A Talk with a Formerly Comatose Patient
183
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
189
Notes
197
Selected Bibliography
203

The Evolution of Natural Law Theory and the Right to Die
97
The American Interpretation of Natural Law
109
Natural Law and the PostRevolutionary Era
119

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About the author (2002)

RAYMOND WHITING is Professor of Political Science at Augusta State University./e He has received both the University's Outstanding Faculty Member Award and a Governor's Teaching Fellowship Award.

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