An ethical analysis of the role of dignity in the ‘weary of life’-debate
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Dutch elderly people who are weary of life are looking for assistance to end their lives. According to the organizations Nederlandse Vereniging voor een Vrijwillig Levenseinde (NVVE) and Uit Vrije Wil, the dignity of these elderly people is under threat. Therefore arguments based on personal dignity were constructed to justify possible assistance for elderly men and women in this situation. The main question is: “What is the role of dignity in the current Dutch ‘weary of life’ debate?”. This thesis also focuses on the potential role of dignity within the Dutch ‘weary of life’-debate. The different categorizations provided by Nordenfelt, Sulmasy, Schultziner and Beyleveld and Brownsword provide different uses and forms of the concept of dignity. The analytical framework, based on dignity as empowerment, dignity of identity and inflorescent dignity, shows the role of dignity in the arguments based on personal dignity made by the NVVE and Uit Vrije Wil. To conclude, dignity can justify assisting elderly people who are weary of life.