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Title page for ETD etd-07132011-171051

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Accavitti, Michael Joseph
URN etd-07132011-171051
Title Freedom of Choice: A Pragmatic Argument for the Permissibility of Assisted Suicide
Degree Master of Arts
Department Philosophy
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
John Lachs Committee Chair
Mark Bliton Committee Member
Michael Hodges Committee Member
  • euthanasia
  • pragmatism
  • palliative care
  • end-of-life care
  • Continual deep sedation
  • Assisted suicide
Date of Defense 2011-06-27
Availability unrestricted
This project will concern itself with crafting an argument in favor of the legalization of assisted suicide as a viable medical treatment. It will do this in two ways; first by comparing the physical and experiential differences between assisted suicide and currently allowed end-of-life practices. With this accomplished, I then hope to demonstrate that for an individual patient there may in fact be a great sense of meaning that comes from giving her control over her own fate. By not granting seriously ill patients the opportunity to commit assisted suicide we are in fact harming some patients for whom the act of taking their own life may be very meaningful. This paper does not argue that the act of taking ones own life will always be a good end for all individuals, but rather it supports the idea that having the ability to choose assisted suicide may give meaning to a time in a persons life when meaning may be hard to come by. The paper also extends its pragmatic analysis of the aforementioned differences between practices to include a discussion of how, in light of work by William James, this added meaning is pragmatically good.

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