The History and Ethics of Suicide

Mar 30, 2016

Questions surrounding suicide have been with us for at least as long as we’ve had written record, and the answers are as varied as the times and places where they were discussed. Wednesday, Doug sits down with philosophy scholar Margaret Battin. She’s spent her career collecting the works of religious and secular thinkers regarding suicide. It has been considered noble, immoral, heroic and cowardly, and we’ll talk about what all of those views teach us about end-of-life issues today.

Margaret Battin is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and an Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Utah. Her books include Ending Life: Ethics and the Way We Die [Indiebound|Amazon] and The Ethics of Suicide: Historical Sources [Indiebound|Amazon]

Oxford University Press and the University of Utah have partnered to create The Ethics of Suicide Digital Archives, which houses historical sources.

On VideoWest


When the time is right, Gerda Saunders is going to take her own life. Gerda has a progressive form of dementia and we’ve been following her during this process. Of course, identifying the right time is going to be difficult, but she knows her family will support her when she makes the call. Life is over, she told us, when you stop having the ability to make your mark in the world.

For help with thoughts of suicide, contact:

  • American Foundation for Prevention of Suicide,
  • National crisis hotline, 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Utah Suicide Hotline
    Valley Mental Health
    Crisis Line, 24 hours / 7 days
    (801) 261-1442