In what is being referred to as “an unprecedented example of library-author-publisher collaboration,” a new philosophy book and accompanying digital archive of its material were recently launched. The book is The Ethics of Suicide: Historical Sources, by Margaret Battin (Utah). Professor Battin worked with her publisher, Oxford University Press, and the University of Utah’s Library for the project, and the results are available at The Ethics of Suicide Digital Archive. The archive contains an impressive amount of philosophical work on suicide, from 1500 B.C. to the present, and is open to suggestions of additional material.
A press release regarding the launch describes the political and personal aspects of the project:
Battin has been teaching and studying end of life issues since she first arrived at the U in 1975. She is affiliated with suicide-prevention organizations and also with organizations supporting aid-in-dying, or Death with Dignity legislation. In 2008 her academic work became personal when her husband Brooke Hopkins, also a U professor, was rendered quadriplegic in a double bicycle accident and chose, nearly five years later, to discontinue his ventilator. Battin continues to give talks around the country involving her ironic situation.
A local Fox affiliate has a news story about the book, archive, and Battin. Below is a talk Battin gave at TEDMED 2014 about her husband’s accident and death, and choices about dying.