Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 39 (2):111-122 (2018)

Physician-assisted dying is currently an intensely discussed topic in several countries. Despite differences in legislation and application, countries with end-of-life laws have similar eligibility criteria for assistance in dying: individuals must be in a hopeless situation and experience unbearable suffering. Hopelessness, as a basic aspect of the human condition, is a central topic in Albert Camus’ philosophical work The Myth of Sisyphus, which addresses the question of suicide. Suffering in the face of a hopeless situation, and the way doctors approach this suffering, is the topic of his novel The Plague, which describes the story of a city confronted with a plague epidemic. In this paper, I draw philosophical and ethical conclusions about physician-assisted dying based on an analysis of central concepts in the work of Camus—specifically, those treated in The Myth of Sisyphus and The Plague. On the basis of my interpretation of Camus’ work, I argue that hopelessness and unbearable suffering are useless as eligibility criteria for physician-assisted dying, given that they do not sufficiently elucidate where the line should be drawn between patients who should to be eligible for assistance and those who should not.
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DOI 10.1007/s11017-018-9436-1
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Autrement Qu'être Ou au-Delà de L'Essence.Emmanuel Levinas - 1982 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 38 (2):422-423.
Autrement qu'être, ou au delà de l'essence.Emmanuel Levinas - 1976 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 81 (1):142-143.

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