Getting Out While the Getting’s Good: Ending One’s Life as a Rational Response to a Diagnosis of Impending Dementia

January 31, 2023 -
7:00pm to 8:30pm

Dena Davis, JD, PhD
Endowed Presidential Professor in Health and
Professor of Bioethics and Religion
Lehigh University

Respondent: Joshua Schulz, PhD, Associate Professor of Philosophy, DeSales University

Abstract: Dena Davis has written about the rationality of “pre-emptive suicide,” ending one’s life following completion of the life plans that one considers critical, and prior to the decline of one’s body that may make life increasingly burdensome. She has stated, “Unfortunately, in the world we currently live in, if you don’t take control of life’s end, it’s likely to go in ways that are inimical to your wishes.” Based on her scholarship as a bioethicist and her experience caring for her mother as she succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease, Davis encourages conversations that challenge the taboo against suicide and advocates for individuals’ right to choose that end.

The 2023 Bessette Lecture on Medical Ethics co-sponsored by the McGowan Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility at King’s College

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