Euthanasia was practiced by Greek physicians as early as 500 BC. In the 20th century, legal and ethical controversies surrounding assisted dying exploded. Many religions and medical organizations led the way in opposition, citing the incompatibility of assisted dying with various religious traditions and with the obligations of medical personnel toward their patients. Today, these practices remain highly controversial both in the United States and around the world.
Comprising contributions from an international group of experts, this book thoroughly investigates euthanasia and assisted suicide from an interdisciplinary and global perspective. It presents the ethical arguments for and against assisted dying; highlights how assisted dying is perceived in various cultural and philosophical traditions—for example, South and East Asian cultures, Latin American perspectives, and religions including Islam and Christianity; and considers how assisted dying has both shaped and been shaped by the emergence of professionalized bioethics. Readers will also learn about the most controversial issues related to assisted dying, such as pediatric euthanasia, assisted dying for organ transplantation, and “suicide tourism,” and examine concerns relating to assisted dying for racial minorities, children, and the disabled.
- Addresses the extended history of debates regarding the ethical justifiability of assisted suicide and euthanasia
- Analyzes assisted suicide and euthanasia in many cultural, philosophical, and religious traditions
- Provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the subject, including coverage of topics such as the depictions of assisted dying in popular culture, that enables a more complete understanding of the emotionally charged controversy surrounding this subject
- Spotlights the latest medical and scientific developments in euthanasia and examines the role of technology in the ethical debates on assisted dying