Information, Decision and Self-Determination: Euthanasia as a Case Study

U.R.M.T. de Vries, L.M.A. Francot

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The central notion of this article is that of “decision” as a means to shape one’s life
    and life biography. Decision is considered to be a prominent feature of contemporary
    society and the one through which we exercise our autonomy as a right to selfdetermination. Decisions, however, require information. In contemporary society,
    information is readily available but the effective use of that information often requires
    the help of others. Furthermore, as decisions transform into action again we often
    need others. These “others” must decide for themselves whether to help or assist us
    as an expression of their autonomy. These concepts of autonomy, decision,
    information and the other are key notions which we need to understand the role of
    self-determination in our society. We are accustomed to having legal frameworks
    which guide, facilitate and limit us in selecting information, making decisions and
    exercising self-determination. In this article the legal framework of euthanasia, as it
    exists in the Netherlands, is taken as a case study to illustrate the role of information
    with respect to the notion self-determination. This article explores how the abundance
    of information available to us in contemporary society has an impact upon the
    decisions we make and, more often than not, must make.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)534-775
    Number of pages241
    JournalSCRIPTed - A Journal of Law, Technology & Society
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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