Harwig's "Is There a Duty to Die"

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Hardwig – “Is there a Duty to Die”
In John Hardwig’s “Is there a Duty to Die”, he builds upon Richard Lamms concept of there being a “Duty to Die”. According to Hardwig, there are particular circumstances which make it imperative for a person to fulfill their duty to their family and accept voluntary euthanasia which he frequently refers to as the “Duty to Die”. Generally, these circumstances revolve around cases in which the individual is chronically ill and has become more of an expense and liability to their family and loved ones than a productive component of it (3).

Hardwig begins his argument by explaining this “duty” began in more primitive cultures when voluntary euthanasia was common simply due to the fact the medical technology was limited and when individuals became too old and feeble they would generally be left alone to die so to limit the economic strain they would put on their society. He explains that this same duty has returned due to the fact that advances in life-prolonging medicine on a chronically ill individual can put significant economic strains on their family and loved ones. Overall, he stresses the importance that one should make on involving the family in making a decision on euthanasia (7-8) and significantly discredits the “Individualistic Fantasy” which is the belief that “lives are separate and unconnected, or that they could be so if we chose” (2).

As Hardwig begins to conclude his argument, he discusses the “meaning of death” and explains his argument that our society has become so entrapped in viewing death with negative and fearful connotations we have lost nearly all the meaning associated with it (11). Hardwig explains that since we do not live in an individualistic world and we are interconnected with society by family and loved ones, voluntary euthanasia would have meaning in the reasoning that it would keep those we love economically stable and capable of fulfilling their own long and rich existences....
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