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The 2020 Walter C. Murray Lecture is by Dr. Michael Cholbi (PhD) of California State University.

The Walter C. Murray Lecture: The Right to Die

Is it ethically consistent to be anti-suicide but pro-assisted dying?


A lecture by Dr. Michael Cholbi (PhD), professor of philosophy, California State University

Hosted by the Department of Philosophy

Friday, Nov. 22
7 pm
106 Biology Building, 112 Science Pl.

Free and open to the public | A reception follows the lecture

As measured by the legalization of physician-assisted dying across the globe, the right to die seems to be flourishing. But an examination of evolving language and practice related to self-killing suggests the emergence of a consensus that can be summarized as anti-suicide but pro-assisted dying. Central to this consensus is an assumed contrast between choosing to die and shaping the circumstances of one’s death. This contrast turns out to be philosophically untenable and ethically troubling. I shall argue that the right to die is adverbial, by which I mean that whatever substance the right to die has, it is not best described as a right to choose death but as a right we mortal creatures have to shape the circumstances of our deaths.


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