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Bioethics. 2002 Sep;16(5):425-38.

Supporting irrational suicide.

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  • 1Science and Technology Studies Program, Department of Philosophy, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0227, USA.


In this essay, we present three case studies which suggest that sometimes we are better off supporting a so-called irrational suicide, and that emotional or psychological distress--even if medically controllable--might justify a suicide. We underscore how complicated these decisions are and how murky a physician's moral role can be. We advocate a more individualized route to end-of-life care, eschewing well-meaning, principled, generalizations in favor of highly contextualized, patient-centered approach. We conclude that our Western traditions of promoting reasoned behavior and life themselves may at times be counter-productive.

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