The value of life and suicide : a consideration of normative systems

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Igesund, Charlotte Skinnes
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The thesis will be dealing with the question of whether the prevention of rational autonomous individuals in committing suicide is a violation of already existing human rights, and if so- how the upholding of such rights can better be aligned with the paternalistic duty to protect life. The thesis strives to shed light on the potential legal, philosophical, ethical, religious, social, political and medical interpretation of those unfortunate circumstances in which suicide can be a rational and potential legally relevant human behaviour. Promoting suicide, or in any way trivialising acts as such, is categorically not the intention. It is only by acknowledging the rationality in certain suicidal individuals, that we can genuinely understand the value of life and adapt the current legislations in a way that it fully guarantees equality in rights and dignity. Hence, this research is also studying some links between the right to life with other rights relevant for the quality of living – privacy, liberty, dignity, equality. The research seeks to contribute to strike the balance between human freedoms as they are valued and understood in the modern European systems and the public interests of protection of the individual as a valuable and cared-for member of society. Conclusively, it will argue that cases concerning suicide have to be individually assessed. In the majority of cases paternalistic duties and protective legal instruments are required, but that does not account for leaving out those remaining cases in which paternalism might undermine individual autonomy which deserves public recognition and legal respect.
Second semester University: Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski
suicide, dignity, mental health, right to life, philosophical aspects, social aspects, ethical aspects, religious aspects, legal aspects, political aspects, privacy, liberty, equality, individual responsibility