Event: Second Ācārya Mahāprajña Annual Lecture - Claire Maes: Beyond Life's End

Registration via https://event.ugent.be/registration/annuallecture from 04-09-2023 13:06 until 05-10-2023 13:00


In this lecture, Claire Maes (University of Tübingen) makes an ethical argument to consider the Jain practice of fasting to death (known as sallekhanā) as different from suicide. To this end, she brings the Jain fast into conversation with the practice of ‘Voluntarily Stopping of Eating and Drinking’ (VSED), an end-of-life option, available in various countries for competent adults, to hasten the end of life by consciously choosing to not eat and drink. From a medical and legal point of view sallekhanā can be considered a form of VSED. Although differing in terms of intent and historical context, the two practices are similar insofar that they relate to capable and sound individuals who voluntarily forego food and water until death. Showing the critical similarity between VSED and sallekhanā, I argue that the grounds put forward by major medical associations and legal societies to differentiate VSED from suicide are equally applicable to the case of sallekhanā. She contends that the Jain fast needs to be disentangled from the concept of suicide based on the quality of intent, but also because the process is, in theory and for some time at least, reversible, supported by loved ones and members of the larger Jain community, and dependent on the individual’s continuous and prolonged will of renouncing food and water. She also shows how medical and legal authorities defend an individual’s right to VSED based on the principles of self-determination, bodily integrity, self-ownership, and respect for persons. She puts forward the view to take these ethical principles into account to legally protect a Jain’s right to take the vow of sallekhanā.

Register Option Description Location When? Cost in EUR Available Seats

Second Ācārya Mahāprajña Annual Lecture - Claire Maes: Beyond Life's End

Faculteitsraadzaal - Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent

05-10-2023 16:30 - 17:45