Choosing to Die

Terry Pratchett is the worldwide bestselling author of the Discworld series of fantasy novels. Recently he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which is an irreversible, degenerate neurological disorder. In this very moving documentary he visits Dignitas in Switzerland and some of the patients who are making use of their services in assisted suicide, in the hope that he can find out more about the process.

Adult note: the full film does show the death of one patient near the end.

Assisted suicide is not legal in very many countries, which is why organisations like Dignitas serve a lot of people from outside Switzerland. Watch the documentary (while it lasts*) and read up on some cases.

What elements of Ethics in TOK are represented in this moral quandary? Are there conflicting areas of knowledge? Why?

Identify stakeholders in assisted suicide: what are their beliefs and what do they want to see happen? How can we balance the conflicting views of people on the opposing sides of the  ‘right to die‘ vs ‘pro-life‘ debate?

What the world really needs now is not necessarily more people who can win an argument. It is people who are able to reconcile, empathise, understand, seek to be understood and ultimately make a better and more peaceful place.

Some simple pro-con arguments can be found on debatepedia, but use it more like a springboard for further reading and a way to identify those stakeholders and their position.

*EDIT – the film has already been taken down, but can be found on iPlayer if you’re in the UK.

Further reading:

What should politicians do about assisted suicide legislation? from the Guardian

Terry Pratchett defends Choosing to Die,” from the Guardian

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