Rational Suicide: Is It Possible? Reflections on the Suicide of Martin Manley

David Lester, PhD
Stockton University, Galloway, NJ, USA

Series: Psychiatry – Theory, Applications and Treatments
BISAC: MED105010

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It is slowly becoming accepted that people with terminal illnesses who are suffering physically and mentally from the illness have the moral and legal right to choose suicide and, in some jurisdictions, they have the ability to obtain assistance from others in accomplishing their suicide. Physician-assisted suicide is legal in Oregon and other regions of the USA and in some countries such as Switzerland. However, the presence of a psychiatric disorder in the individual usually makes it illegal for a physician to assist individuals (by prescribing a lethal dose of medication) in dying by suicide.

What if the person does not have a terminal illness? Does this mean that their choice of suicide cannot be a rational decision? What if the person can be diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder? Does their psychiatric disorder eliminate the possibility of rational thought? Typically, today, the answer to both of these questions is “Yes.”

In this book, David Lester, a renowned scholar in the field of suicide, argues that the answer to both questions should be “No.”

In August 2013, Martin Manley chose to die by suicide and left a website in which he had written his thoughts for the previous year and a half. Lester analyzes Manley’s writing, and relevant psychological research, to argue that Manley’s decision was the result of rational thinking despite the fact that Manley did not have a terminal illness. The book also examines the notion that people with a psychiatric disorder cannot think rationally or make rational decisions. Lester first criticizes psychiatry for being scientifically unsound and then presents evidence that those labeled by psychiatrists as having a mental illness can make rational decisions. Lester also presents the case of Jo Roman who was suffering from terminal cancer, who refused further treatment and arranged to die by suicide supported by her husband and large circle of friends.

Lester concludes that deaths by suicide may be rational more often than we commonly believe and that these deaths may be appropriate ways of dying. (Imprint: Nova Biomedical )

Preface

Part 1: Introduction

Chapter 1: Can the Decision to Commit Suicide be Rational?

Chapter 2: The Logic of Suicidal Individuals

Chapter 3: Can Suicide be an Appropriate Death?

Chapter 4: The Issue of Psychiatric Disorder

Part 2: Martin’s Essays

Chapter 5: Martins First Entry

Chapter 6: I am not a Conformist

Chapter 7: Suicide Preface

Chapter 8: Why Suicide?

Chapter 9: Why Not?

Chapter 10: Why Age 60?

Chapter 11: Self-Serving?

Chapter 12: Suicide - How To

Chapter 13: Growing Up

Chapter 14: OMG I Look 60

Chapter 15: Mom and Dad

Chapter 16: The Heavens

Chapter 17: My Religion

Chapter 18: Chancel Choir

Chapter 19: Victory O Lord

Chapter 20: The Proposal

Chapter 21: Two Marriages

Chapter 22: First Two Loves

Chapter 23: Health

Chapter 24: Sleep Deprivation

Chapter 25: Living Donor

Chapter 26: Food and Drink

Chapter 27: Kansas City Star

Chapter 28: Tornado at the Woodlands

Chapter 29: Synesthesia

Chapter 30: Legal

Chapter 31: Extra Information

Part 3: Conclusion

Chapter 32: Jo Roman

Chapter 33: Was Martin’s Decision to Die by Suicide Rational?

Chapter 34: Final Thoughts

References

Index

"Rational Suicide: Is It Possible? is a wonderful manuscript, which is interesting, instructive, easy reading, and provocative with new and usual information to general readers. I strongly recommend this book to both professionals and general populations." - Zhang Jie, Ph.D., Director and Professor, Center for China Studies, Department of Sociology, SUNY Buffalo State

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