The Right to Life and the Value of Life : Orientations in Law, Politics and Ethics book cover
1st Edition

The Right to Life and the Value of Life
Orientations in Law, Politics and Ethics

Edited By

Jon Yorke

ISBN 9780754677611
Published July 28, 2010 by Routledge
464 Pages

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Book Description

This groundbreaking book is the first collection to investigate the law, political science and ethical perspectives collectively in relation to the right and value of life. Its contributions from international roster of scholars are organized around five themes: a theoretical positioning of life and death; War, armed conflict and detention; Death as punishment; Medical parameters for ending life; and medical policies for the preservation of life. In studying this issue in its contemporary contexts of "right" and "value," the volume fills the current scholarly lacuna in the general subject of the orientations of life. It presents a much-needed examination of key issues in a broad practical and theoretical context, and holds broad appeal for scholars, researchers, and students occupied with issues of war, armed conflict, the death penalty, and various contemporary medico-legal scenarios.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: the right to life and the value of life: orientations in law, politics and philosophy, Jon Yorke; Part I Approaching the Horizons of Life and Death: Politics and the philosophy of life: towards a normative framework, Mark Olssen; The exemplary exception: philosophical and political decisions in Giorgio Agamben's Homo Sacer, Andrew Norris; The value of life: somatic ethics and the spirit of biocapital, Nikolas Rose; How we value life: George Bailey and the life not worthy of being lived, Stephen Smith. Part II The Vicissitudes of Armed Conflict and Detention: The right to take life: killing and death in armed conflict, Agnieszka Jachec-Neale; The right to life of detainees in armed conflict, Susan Breau; At the hands of the state: when arrest and imprisonment prove fatal, Caroline Fournet. Part III The Denunciation of the Death Penalty: International criminal justice and the death penalty, Steven Freeland; The right to life and abolition of the death penalty in the Council of Europe, Jon Yorke; The death penalty and Russia, Bill Bowring. Part IV Medical Countenance at the End of Life: Assisted suicide, voluntary euthanasia and the right to life, David Benatar; Positive and negative obligations under the right to life in English medical law: letting patients die, Elizabeth Wicks; Conjoined twins: separation as lethal mutilation, Helen Watt. Part V Access to Medical Treatment and the Preservation of (New) Life: Access to medicines and the right to (cultural) life, Johanna Gibson; Assessing vitality: infertility and 'good life' in urban China, Ayo Wahlberg; Illiberal biopolitics and 'embryonic life': the governance of human embryonic stem cell research in China, Kerstin Klein; Index.

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Jon Yorke, Reader in Law, BCU School of Law, Birmingham City University, UK


'The Right to Life and the Value of Life: Orientations in Law, Politics and Ethics is a cohesive and engaging set of essays that addresses many of the difficult issues that arise in conversations about human life and human death. Bringing together legal questions about the right to life, ethical or economic questions about the value of life, and aesthetic or philosophical questions about the good life or prosperous life, the contributors make clear that a reliable discussion of human life in the contemporary world demands a nuanced, multidisciplinary approach. This collection represents precisely such an approach - weaving together analyses of such seemingly disparate topics as war, detention, capital punishment, suicide, euthanasia, reproductive technologies, and the biosciences, while drawing on methodologies from political theory, literature, history, public policy, law, and sociology. In the process, The Right to Life and the Value of Life moves beyond existing frameworks of analysis to open up exciting and sometimes unexpected new spaces for inquiry and dialogue.' Ruth A. Miller, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA 'The Right to Life and the Value of Life: Orientations in Law, Politics and Ethics is a valiant effort bringing the questions of life and death under academic scrutiny. Traditionally, studies referring to the right to life and the value of life have been analyzed from isolated standpoints. This work weaves together science, political awareness and life, and its meritorious and ample endeavor may well entice and enlighten those questions mankind has asked itself repeatedly since the dawn of times.' Antonio Muñoz Aunion, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain