The Ethics of Suicide
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The Ethics of Suicide : Historical Sources

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The spectrum of views about the ethics of suicide-from the view that suicide is profoundly morally wrong to the view that it is a matter of basic human right, and from the view that it is primarily a private matter to the view that it is largely a social one-lies at the root of contemporary practical controversies over suicide. This collection of primary sources-the principal texts of philosophical interest from western and nonwestern cultures, from the major religious traditions, and from oral cultures where observer reports of traditional practices are available, spanning Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Oceania, and North and South America-is intended to facilitate exploration of such current practical issues by exhibiting the astonishingly diverse range of thinking about suicide throughout human intellectual history, in its full range of cultures and traditions. This collection has no interest in taking sides in these debates; rather, it hopes to expand the character of what have been rather linear recent debates on issues like physician-assisted suicide, suicide in social protest, and suicide bombings by making them multidimensional.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 752 pages
  • 178.05 x 254 x 49mm | 505g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195135997
  • 9780195135992
  • 1,295,787

About Margaret Pabst Battin

Margaret Pabst Battin is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Medical Ethics, at the University of Utah. She has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited some twenty books, among them a study of philosophical issues in suicide; a collection on age-rationing of medical care; a text on professional ethics; and a collection of her essays on end-of-life issues, The Least Worst Death (Oxford, 1994). A second collection of her essays (and fiction) on end-of-life issues, entitled Ending Life, was published in spring 2005 by Oxford University Press. She is the lead author of two multiauthored projects, Drugs and Justice: Seeking a Consistent, Coherent, Comprehensive View (Oxford, 2008) and The Patient as Victim and Vector: Ethics and Infectious Disease (Oxford, 2009).show more

Table of contents

I. Introduction: Sources of Conflict in Contemporary Controversies about Suicide ; II. Selections ; Egyptian Didactic Tale (c. 2180-c. 2050 B.C.) ; Dialogue of a Man With His Soul ; The Vedas, Brahmanas, and Upanishads (c. 1500-c. 500 B.C.) ; Rig Veda ; Brahma Purana ; Padme Purana ; Skanda Purana ; Chandogya Upanishad ; Isha Upanishad ; The Hebrew Bible and Apocrypha (c. 12-1st centuries B.C.) ; Genesis The Prohibition of Suicide ; Exodus: The Ten Commandments ; Judges: Samson and the Philistines ; I Samuel-II Samuel: Saul and his Armor-Bearer ; Job: The Sufferings of Job ; II Maccabees: The Suicide of Razis ; Daniel: Shadrach, Meschach, Abednego and the Fiery Furnace ; Homer (c. 8th century B.C.) ; The Iliad: The Deaths of Hector and Achilles ; Dharmashastra (c. 600 B.C. - 200 A.D.) ; Gautama Sutra ; Apastamba Sutra ; Vasistha Sutra ; The Laws of Manu ; The Jain Tradition (599-527 B.C. to 5th century A.D.) ; Acaranga Sutra: Liberation ; Tattvartha Sutra: Passionless End is Not Suicide ; Upasakadasah: Ten Chapters on Lay Attenders: The Story of Ananda ; Confucius (551-479 B.C.) ; The Analects ; The Book of Filial Piety ; Sophocles (c. 496-406 B.C.) ; Ajax ; Oedipus at Colonus ; Euripides (c. 484-406 B.C.) ; Suppliant Women: ; The Suicide of Evadne, Watched by her Father ; The Hippocratic Corpus (c. 450-c. 350 B.C.) ; The Hippocratic Oath ; About Maidens ; Plato (c. 424-c. 348 B.C.) ; Apology: On Being Condemned to Death ; Phaedo: The Death of Socrates ; The Republic: On Medicine ; The Laws: Recidivist Criminals and Penalties for Suicide ; Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) ; Nicomachean Ethics ; Mencius (c. 372-c. 289 B.C.) ; The Mencius ; Qu Yuan (c. 340-278 B.C.) ; Embracing Sand ; Chrysippus (c. 280-c. 206 B.C.) ; The Stoics' Five Reasons for Suicide ; Sima Qian (145 or 135-86 B.C.) ; Records of the Grand Historian: The Basic Annals of Xiang Yu ; Records of the Grand Historian: The Assassin and his Sister ; Letter in Reply to Ren Shaoqing ; Cicero (106-43 B.C.) ; Tusculan Disputations ; On Ends ; On Old Age ; The Questions of King Milinda (c. 100 B.C.-c.200 A.D.) ; On Suicide ; Livy (c. 59 B.C.-17 A.D.) ; The History of Rome: The Rape of Lucretia ; Seneca (4 B.C.-65 A.D.) ; Moral Letters to Lucilius ; Letter 70: On the Proper Time to Slip the Cable ; Letter 77: On Taking One's Own Life ; Letter 78: On the Healing Power of the Mind ; Valerius Maximus (fl. c. 14-c. 31) ; Memorable Doings and Sayings ; Pliny the Elder (23-79 A.D.) ; Natural History ; Of God ; Nature of the Earth ; Ignatius of Antioch (c. 30 or 50-117) ; Epistle: To the Romans ; Josephus (37-c. 100) ; The Jewish War ; The Defeat at Jotapa ; Mass Suicide at Masada ; Plutarch (c. 46-c. 120) ; Moralia: The Women of Miletus ; Parallel Lives: Cato the Younger ; The New Testament (c. 50-c. 150) ; Matthew: The Death of Judas ; Acts: Paul Prevents a Suicide ; I Corinthians: The Body as Temple ; Philippians: Paul in Prison: On the Desire to Die ; The Lotus Sutra (c. 50-c. 200) ; Tacitus (c. 55-c.117) ; The Annals: The Death of Seneca ; Epictetus (c. 55-c. 135) ; Discourses ; How From the Doctrine of Our Relationship to God We Are To ; Deduce its Consequences ; How We Should Bear Illness ; Of Freedom ; Pliny the Younger (62-113) ; Letters ; To Calestrius Tiro ; To Catilius Severus ; To Marcilius Nepos ; To Calpurnius Macer ; Justin Martyr (c. 100-165) ; The Second Apology: Why Christians Do Not Kill Themselves ; Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-c. 215) ; The Praises of Martyrdom ; Those Who Offered Themselves for Martyrdom Reproved ; Tertullian (c. 160-c. 220) ; To the Martyrs ; The Crown of Martyrdom ; Bhagavad-Gita (3rd century) ; The Way to Eternal Brahman ; Genesis Rabbah (compiled 3rd-5th century) ; Commentary on Genesis 9:5 ; Plotinus (204/205-270) ; from The Enneads ; Fourth Tractate: On Happiness ; Seventh Tractate: On the Primal Good and Secondary Forms of Good ; Ninth Tractate: The Reasoned 'Dismissal' ; Lactantius (c. 240-c. 320) ; The Divine Institutes ; Eusebius (c. 260-339) ; Ecclesiastical History ; Ambrose (337/340-397) ; Of Virgins: Letter to Marcellina ; Augustine (354-430) ; The City of God ; On Free Choice and the Will ; The Babylonian Talmud (3rd-6th centuries) ; Bava Kama ; Avodah Zarah ; Gittin ; Semahot ; Bana (late 6th century-early 7th century) ; Harsha-Carita, The Death of the Great King: On Sati ; Kadambari ; The Quran (traditional date c. 632-c.650) ; Surahs 2.54, 2.154, 2.195, 2.207, 3.145, 3.169-70, 4.29-30, 4.66, 4.74-80, 9.111, 18.6 ; Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari and Muslim al-Hajjaj (810-870; c. 817/821-875) ; Hadith ; Ya'qub al-Qirqisani (c. 890-c.960) ; The Book of Lighthouses and Watchtowers ; Ahmad ibn Fadlan (fl. 920s) ; The Risala: By the River Volga, 922: Viking Ship-Burial ; Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi (922/932-1023) ; Borrowed Lights: On Suicide ; Murasaki Shikibu (970-1031) ; The Tale of Genji ; Jetsun Milarepa (c. 1052-c. 1135) ; Songs of Milarepa ; Abu-Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali (1056-1111) ; Revival of the Religious Sciences ; Tosafot (12th-14th centuries) ; On Avodah Zarah 18a ; Tosafot on the Torah ; Henry de Bracton (c. 1210-1268) ; On the Laws and Customs of England: Where a Man Commits ; Felony Upon His Own Person ; The Norse Sagas (c. 1220-c.1400) ; Ynglinga Saga: Odin Marks Himself with a Spear [1930] [1844 ; Gautrek's Saga: The Family Cliff ; Njal's Saga: The Burning of Njal ; Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274) ; Summa Theologiae: Whether One is Allowed to Kill Oneself ; Angela of Foligno (1248-1309) ; The Book of Divine Consolation ; Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) ; The Divine Comedy: Inferno ; Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Battuta (1304-1368/69 A.D.) ; from Rihla: On Sati and Religious Suicide ; Thomas More (1478-1535) ; Utopia ; A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation ; Martin Luther (1483-1546) ; Table-Talk ; Francisco de Vitoria (c.1483/92-1546) ; Lecture on Homicide ; Commentary on [Thomas Aquinas] Summa Theologiae IIa IIae Q. 64 ; John Calvin (1509-1564) ; Sermons on Job ; Solomon ben Jehiel Luria (1510-1573) ; On Bava Kamma ; Central and South American Native Cultures ; (documented 1526-1621) ; Aztec ; Codex Chimalpopoca (1570) ; The Death of Quetzalcoatl ; Letters from Mexico (1519-20) ; (Hernan Cortes, 1519-20) ; General History of the Things of New Spain (The Florentine Codex) ; The Festival in the Month of Toxcatl ; The Sun, Moon, and Stars, and the Binding of the ; Years ; (Bernardino de Sahagun, c. 1565) ; Monarchia Indiana ; Chimalpopoca's Victory in Death ; (Juan de Torquemada, 1609-15) ; In Defense of the Indians ; (Bartolome de Las Casas, 1548-1550) ; Maya: ; Popol Vuh: ; History of the Twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque ; How the People Obtained Fire ; (dictated in K'iche', c. 1554-1558; Francisco Ximenez, c. 1701) ; An Account of the Affairs of Yucatan ; Ixtab: Goddess of the Gallows ; (Diego de Landa, c. 1570) ; Caribbean: ; Natural History of the West Indies ; Suicide on the Death of the Chief ; (Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo, 1526) ; La Historia General de las Indias ; Suicide, Smallpox, and the Arrival of the Spaniards ; (Francisco Lopez de Gomara, 1552) ; Hhistory of the New World ; Suffering at the Hands of the Spaniards ; (Girolamo Benzoni, 1565) ; Inca: ; The Indias ; The Burial of Wives ; (Pedro de Cieza de Leon, 1553) ; Natural & Moral History of the Indies ; Of Superstitions They Used to the Dead ; (Jose de Acosta, 1589) ; La Extirpacion de la Idolatria en el Peru ; What Those Who Hang Themselves Really Are ; (Pablo Jose de Arriaga, 1621) ; Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592 ; Of Cannibals ; A Custom of the Island of Cea ; Abu'l Fazl ibn Mubarak (1551-1602) ; Biography of the Emperor Akbar: On Jauhar and Saka ; Willliam Shakespeare (1564-1616) ; Hamlet, Prince of Denmark ; Antony and Cleopatra ; John Donne (1572-1631) ; Biathanatos ; Robert Burton (1577-1640) ; Anatomy of Melancholy ; John Sym (1581?-1638) ; Lifes Preservative Against Self-Killing ; Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) ; Leviathan ; A Dialogue of the Common Laws of England ; Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) ; Ethics ; Samuel von Pufendorf (1632-1694) ; Of the Law of Nature and Nations ) ; John Locke (1632-1704) ; Second Treatise of Government:show more

Review quote

This book is a gold mine for those in search of historical sources on suicide, assisted suicide and euthanasia. * Paul Schotsmans, Ethical Perspectives *show more

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